Monday, March 06, 2006


If you need a measure of how much Long Beach State’s men’s basketball team has improved talk with Nancey Kredell. She’s not a coach, not a broadcaster, not a writer, not a pro scout, not even a basketball parent. Nancy is a full time 49er fan with a special passion for men’s water polo.

Nancey is the mom of one of those calendar-quality men’s water polo stars of a few years back, Chi Kredell, who collected All American awards, Olympic medals and pro paychecks before retiring to play cops and robbers in LA. Mom Kredell however still gushes over the pool poloists and that’s where the basketball connection comes in. “You know that we have a wonderful new men’s water polo coach”, Nancy told me, “his name is Gavin Arroyo and he was at our last men’s home basketball game with 17 recruits.”

I gulped but then realized that Gavin likely knows what he is doing. The guy was a two-time member of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Water Polo team, an assistant coach at the UC Berkeley and the head coach for the Olympic Club of San Francisco men’s team. In the past men’s hoops was so bad that a coach would rather take recruits duck hunting with Dick Cheney. Not any more.

Last Saturday Aaron Nixon scored 24 points and Shawn Hawkins 19 and came from way behind to out-scored UC Irvine 53-27 in the second half and win the game by 20, 93-73. That got the Beach boys a ton of confidence and a first round bye in the Big West tourney underway this weekend in Anaheim. The 90 points also gives Long Beach the 2006 regular season NCAA scoring title at 83.7 per game, ahead of--drum roll please-- Duke. The first contest for the team is Thursday at 6 p.m. Win and play on.

The kinder, gentler side of the BWC party, the ladies division, also has a Long Beach flavor and that would be the Niners of Mary Hegarty who beat Irvine 67-65 and proudly own half of the Big West Conference crown with UCSB. These Niners get a free pass until the semi finals on Friday at 2:30 after which you can go across the street and visit with Mickey and Minnie then come back for the Niner men’s semi final (we hope) that evening and keep the same parking place.

OUTDOOR DUST—Spring means those major league millionaires have to go back to work and that would include former Dirtbag all-world pitcher Jered Weaver. His Angel coaches love his fastball but worry about how it gets to the plate, “an extreme, across-the-body motion that could be more taxing on the arm,” according to His team’s pitching coach Bud Black believes the motion gives the 6-foot-7 Weaver an advantage “because hitters aren't used to the ball being delivered from such an odd angle.”

The in-town diamond news comes from softball that has played in tourneys at UNLV, San Diego, UCSB and Arizona and now gets host their own. The field includes Mississippi State, Mercer, UCLA and Syracuse with games all weekend at Mayfair Park in Lakewood. No conflict with the Dirtbags who are searching for their lost offense at Texas.

Last add spring swingers, the 49ers women’s tennis team goes to Riverside Friday on a ten match win streak after blowing out UC Irvine and Pacific last week Insider say they won’t lose any conference matches this season and probably not many sets.—DR. DAN


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