Sunday, October 24, 2004

STIRRING UP SOME HOOP STEW AND ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS WE PRINT

You gotta take care of the onion or it will make you cry.

I ran across that old saying recently when pondering the prospects for Long Beach State’s cash cow, know as men’s basketball. It seems that most teams in the Big West Conference have a selection of those 6-7 or so shooters, nobody has a good seven footer, and everybody needs a great ball handler.

Last year the Niner backcourt fell faster and harder than Fidel. Jabril Hodges was the slender shooting guard and Kevin Houston a 5-10 freshman puppy fed to older, taller and bigger wolves. For the record the Beach boys finished 6-21 overall and 4-14 in conference. Even worse, the stretch run where LBSU lost its final 10 games and missed the BWC Tournament for the second consecutive season.

Fast forward to now where we sit a week away from the first competition for the new look Niners and that bring-the-ball-up job is still to open. Head coach Larry Reynolds figures the answer will have to be packaged as Special K and he’s got three to choose from. Familiar from last year and in better condition is K-1 as in Kevin Houston. The bigger and stronger K is Keion Kindred, 6-5, 235 imported from an Arizona JUCO team that went 27-7 last year with Keion a passing fancy, the all time assists leader, but offering little scoring.

The other K possibility is a dark horse in hard working Wilson red-shirt Kevin Crockett, bigger at 6-1 than Houston, the best pure shooter of the three, but smaller and less experience than Kindred or Houston. Film at 11 and first exhibition on November 5th.

NAME DROPPING DUST-- Best of the Hall of Fame moments, this from Jim McCormack of the PT who was a community inductee in 1996 and set the record for length of acceptance speech. With the eight inductees last week moving fast past the podium, Jim, noting his record, cracked, “nobody laid a glove on me this year.” In fact the longest speaking moment was when Athletic Department icon Pat West gave a full length invocation that ended with thanking God for helping her beloved Red Sox beat the Yankees.
Another highlight was a sincere salute to her “Long Beach family” from Misty May who had two 2004 highs, that gold medal and her engagement to Florida Marlin catcher Matt Treanor. As for China and the 2008 Olympics, or even next year on the pro beach tour, “we’ll see, I’ve got a lot on my mind.” Translated, that November wedding and a bit of burn out from the rigors of the AVP world beach tour.

Where are they dept.? Former Niner lady basketeer Traci Waites is the new head coach of women's basketball at Columbia. She was let go from Pittsburgh after being the 1999-2000 Big East Co-Coach of the Year. Her new boss at Columbia, Merry Ormsby, said "Traci is extremely charismatic, passionate about the sport of basketball and passionate about her student-athletes." And she could really handle the onion.

Wrapping up with the ladies of the Spike, last weekend was a take five moment for Brian Gimmillaro and company, losing in five games to pesky senior dominated Northridge then beating old foe Pacific with a comeback win over the Tigers. This weekend LB continues its conference play on the road at Idaho on Thursday and Utah State on Saturday before the Pyramid paybacks they have in mind for Irvine and Santa Barbara.

Closing numbers. Ten under par and $10,262 last weekend on the courses of Disney World for 49er golf alum Paul Goydos who is fighting his way back up the PGA money list. He cashed almost 10 grand at Las Vegas in early October and his pals at Virginia Country Club and the Beach campus are rooting him on.—DR. DAN

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