The United States may have failed to qualify for the Olympics in baseball and men’s soccer, but, hey, at least there’s still team handball.
A hundred and seven points, more than 1,000 yards — quite the Pro Bowl, huh? And here’s the most amazing statistic of all: According to the official scoresheet, there were actually 87 tackles made in the game.
Maybe the NFL should just leave the defenses home next year.
All the chatter about Mark Brunell and Joe Gibbs’ preference for a veteran backup is the basis for this week’s trivia question, which is: Who was Gibbs’ original No.2 quarterback with the 1981 Redskins? (Answer below.)
Some folks scratched their heads last spring when Charley Casserly drafted Drew Henson in the sixth round, inasmuch as Houston already had a young quarterback in David Carr — and Henson seemed committed to a baseball career with the Yankees. But Casserly’s looking like a genius now; after Henson’s first-rate workout last week, the Texans are in position to trade him for a much higher pick.
Obviously, Charley learned his lessons well. As an assistant GM in Washington in the 1980s, he saw Bobby Beathard draft Kelvin Bryant in the seventh round when Bryant was still under contract to the United States Football League. Bryant ended up signing with the Redskins after the USFL folded and helped them win a Super Bowl. (The Cowboys got Herschel Walker the same way, selecting him in the fifth round in 1985, when he was still with the New Jersey Generals.)
An even better analogy, perhaps, is Dallas taking Troy Aikman in the regular draft and Steve Walsh in a supplemental draft the same year (1989). The Cowboys eventually dealt Walsh — the loser in the QB competition — to the Saints for first-, second- and third-round picks. And they used those picks to get the top choice in the 1991 draft, Russell Maryland, as well as Erik Williams and Jimmy Smith (who washed out in Big D but made it big in Jacksonville). All three went on to play in the Pro Bowl (a combined 10 times).
Moral: Young quarterbacks with star potential — or, at the very least, starting potential — always have value (if not to you, then to someone else).
In case you were wondering, Henson’s last game was the Citrus Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) in January 2001. He completed 15 of 20 for 294 yards and two touchdowns to lead Michigan to a 31-28 win over Auburn.
Which baseball-playing quarterback had more trouble hitting the curve: Henson, John Elway (Class A Oneonta, 1982) or Jay Schroeder (five years in the Blue Jays chain)? Unquestionably Schroeder. Jay led two leagues in strikeouts and whiffed 477 times in 1,304 minor league at-bats — a K rate of 36.6 percent. Henson fanned 556 times in 1,857 minor league ups (29.9 percent), and Elway did it 25 times in 151 trips (16.6).
Henson was hardly a total stiff. Indeed, he was second in the International League last season with 40 doubles (and had 30 the year before, plus 18 homers). And unlike the other two, he did make it to the bigs — for a single plate appearance in 2002. Damaso Marte of the White Sox rang him up.
Schroeder — how quickly we forget — was the third player picked in the 1979 baseball draft. The first was Al Chambers, and the second was Tim Leary. Brad Komminsk got taken in the fourth spot, and Andy Van Slyke went sixth.
Former George Washington basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a funny cameo in the just-released movie “The Perfect Score.” He plays a college coach who tries to talk a hotshot high school player into going to St. John’s instead of turning pro. The part of the hoopster is played by Portland Trail Blazer Darius Miles, who, as you may recall, committed to St. John’s (and Jarvis) before changing his mind and entering the NBA Draft.
Speaking of St. John’s, remember when the school dropped “Redmen” as its nickname and became the Red Storm? Well, after reading about the escapades of some of their players — and ex-players — I’m beginning to wonder if they shouldn’t have kept the “Redmen” and dropped the “St.”
A reader writes, “The [Maryland] Terps are shooting 60 percent from the line, and yet Gary [Williams] never seems to overreact to missed free throws during games. Why, you ask? Well, Gary was 76 of 141 from the line during his three years at Maryland — 53.9 percent. In other words, his team shoots free throws better than he did!”
Interesting story by Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer last week on the 50th anniversary of Frank Selvy’s 100-point game for Furman (on Feb.13, 1954, against Newberry). I can’t believe I didn’t know this, but Selvy hit a 40-foot buzzer shot to reach 100. Five more facts about the feat, courtesy of Fowler:
1. Newberry’s best defensive player fouled out before the game was three minutes old.
2. Furman coach Lyles Alley removed his other four starters at halftime and told the reserves to get the ball to Selvy.
3. Selvy scored 37 points in the fourth quarter — or nearly two baskets a minute. (College basketball played four 10-minute quarters back then.)
4. With 10 seconds left, Alley told his players to let Newberry score so Selvy would get a crack at 100. The Newberry player blew the layup, though, and the resulting scramble for the rebound left Selvy with barely enough time to get a shot off.
5. Collectors note: Selvy gave the game ball to his younger brothers, who “took it home to Kentucky and wore it out,” he told Fowler.
Memo to N.C. State basketball player Scooter Sherrill, who got himself in hot water for making a “gay” remark about Duke’s J.J. Redick:
The only male athlete in the last 25 years you could call “gay” and get away with it is golfer Gay Brewer.
Answer to trivia question: Tom Flick, a rookie fourth-round pick, was Joe Gibbs’ original backup quarterback in 1981. He appeared in six games that season and threw 27 passes, completing 13 for 143 yards. (The next year, Gibbs’ backup quarterback was a rookie 11th-round pick, Bob Holly. Holly had only one pass attempt in his two seasons with the Redskins.)
According to papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, Mike Tyson had $85.50 in expenses in December. Be honest now — wouldn’t you love to know what Iron Mike spent the money on? Well, here are several sports-related possibilities, all of which cost exactly $85.50:
An Angler’s Edge Electronic Fish Predictor.
An 8-by-10 autographed color photo of Tampa Bay Bucs running back Mike Alstott.
A Viper 2151 golf bag.
A non-resident hunting license in Yuma, Ariz.
An eight-week Tai Chi fitness class for seniors offered by the recreation department of Monterrey Park, Calif.
A display case that holds a pair of boxing gloves. (Aha!)
Has any Washington Capital benefited more from the team’s coaching change than Jeff Halpern? Under Bruce Cassidy this season, the Pride of Potomac had two goals and four assists in 25 games. Under successor Glen Hanlon, he’s had nine goals and seven assists in 29 games.
And finally …
Kids grow up too darn fast these days. Seems like just yesterday my two boys were watching “Balto.” Now they’re having to read about BALCO.