Monday, July 12, 2004


Seeing the new Laker kindergarten cop Rudy Tomjanovich sprawled across the Pyramid’s alternate press row made me strain to check out his ankles. You see his predecessor Mr. Phil Jackson never bothered to wear socks to these summer side shows. Rudy does and while you are supposed to follow the bouncing ball in the middle it’s’ sidelines full of characters that keeps the Big Blue building buzzing.

Now they do have games and we who wear press credentials should remind one and all that there are five games a day, a mere $12, and at $2.40 per contest cheaper than a slice of pizza or a space to park your car. But back to the side show.

The famous faces generally sit and wait to be recognized. The concession guy sells Sharpie’s, the official pen of Terrell Owens, for $3. a pop so you can get your hero to sign something on paper or cotton or even skin. But the guys I like to chat with are whirling dervishes known as minor league and foreign head coaches.
One guy in that club is a former Niner hoop assistant named Maz Trakh who has plied his trade around the globe most recently as the head coach of the Yakima Kings of the CBA. He’s off that throne and this week Maz is talent-hunting for the two big Americans he can have on his next team, In Korea. “We can only have two guys from the USA but we do pay them $20,000 for the season and, well you never know.” Yep, that’s the motto for all who play or coach summer hoops. “You never know.”
A smaller floppy-haired version of the late Pete Maravich, Maz ran the EA sports traveling team before the NCAA killed that idea refusing to let D-1 teams play that mixtures of old and new pros. After a game last year he weighed in on the importance of exhibition games: "I think it benefits (Penn State) to play a team of this caliber. It's not important whether you win or lose. It's all about getting prepared for the season." Sadly the NCAA doesn’t so enjoy the forthcoming ramen and noodles learn how to say, “You never know” in Korean.

Next up on the assistant’s turntable is one Dave Serrano who has served as Cal State Fullerton's pitching coach and recruiting coordinator the past eight years. I have heard that CSUF did well last season, well enough for him to be introduced as UC Irvine's new baseball coach.

Now correct me if I missed something but I seem to recall a recent flap when the UCI broadcaster suggested something to the effect that Titan coaches had not been regulars at the salad bar. Oh well, the Anteaters can now sign some need hitters since the Titan way includes using no more than three pitchers.
During last week’s report on the traveling Dirtbags we overlooked some of the new kids coming in. One is Jordan Struble, who helped Saddleback win the State JC Championship. He is a catcher/outfielder and wear’s number 15 like the guy the Bags need to replace Brad Davis. Jordon is in Alaska playing for the Fairbanks Goldpanners with current LBs Kenny Maquis and Brett Andrade.
I don’t care what you say Ronnie Dean will not be coming back to the Pyramid as Larry Reynold’s new recruiting “car” replacing departed assistant Bill Carr. Ronnie, who always worked the basketball backwaters of the Midwest, just got hired as an assistant at Gonzaga, whoops that was last week’s mistake. Holy Henry, we goofed on our Steve Nash note, forgetting that he is a true and blue Santa Claran. Mr. Dean is now an assistant at Southeast Missouri State.
Last add hoop Rolodex. A gaggle of Niner prospect are having good summer work in the Say No college league, especially Onye Ibekwe, Sean Hawkins, Keion Kindred, Jabril Hodges, Travon Free and energizer bunny Cody Pearson. When not injured or having car trouble they score, defend, pass the ball and then come in the stands and chat with the fans.—DR. DAN


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