March 26, 2009

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LONGSHOTS: Mount Rushmore offerings and other spring thoughts
by Dave Long

I’ll admit I’ve been kind of grumpy in this space for a while. And with columns about Bud Selig trying to lay the steroids blame on just the players, my crankiness at the Pats just getting a number for Matt Cassell and a recent offering about Rush Limbaugh being the Terrell Owens of conservative talk radio, I have been willing to fire away.

I’m going to blame it on the malaise brought on by the economic free fall that hit in the fall. But, with daylight savings time making it brighter for longer, the crisp (albeit colder than you’d expect) spring air upon us and tournament basketball in full swing, last week I felt a bit optimistic for the first time in a while. The hoop games in the early spring always have that effect on me and it often leads to a random series of thoughts as the games go on through the weekend — with the latest being what follows.

Are Mike and son Cormac Fitzpatrick of Memorial and Trinity respectively the best father-son basketball combo since — who, Pete and Press Maravich maybe?

And who the heck would name their kid Press anyway? The only one I can think who might do it is the great Woodsville hoop coach from back in the day John Bagonzi.

Speaking of the press I took Louisville in the (plug, plug) WGAM online pool because of the pressure they apply and I’m sticking to it. Although I’ve got to say I liked what North Carolina did on Saturday when it pulled away from LSU at the end in an 84-70 win.

And why couldn’t Rick get the Celtics to run and chase as does Louisville? They are relentless.

NH Hoop 101: What New Hampshire basketball coach can now claim disciples of his have now won six Class L state titles among them?

There are triple doubles and then there are TRIPLE doubles and the 13-point, 20-rebound, TEN-blocked-shots submission by Kansas sophomore (old king) Cole Aldrich in Sunday’s 60-43 win over Dayton fits into the latter category.

That loss for Dayton was a dagger in the heart to Flyer alum and Verzion Wireless Arena impresario Tim Bechert. But fortunately for him with NCAA Hockey at the V this weekend he doesn’t have time to dwell on it. And if you need a bit of diversion yourself, there are still a few tickets available.

And buddy Monarchs Prez Jeff Eisenberg may finally be on the road to recovery from last year’s debacle of hometown fave Memphis coughing up the title with awful foul shooting down the stretch. The Tigers moved on by destroying Maryland with a 53-33 first half in a 19-point rout in game two. 

And speaking of a school from the volunteer state, that scary look coming from the sidelines is from Pat Summitt — who lost for the first time EVER in the opening weekend of tournament play when Tennessee’s 42-game opening-weekend winning streak ended in a 71-55 stunner to Ball State, which was making its tournament debut.

And one final thing about Summitt. Given her stature in Tennessee, with the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA struggling on the court and at the box office, think they’d have the guts to make her the first female head coach of a men’s professional sports team in the U.S.?

You may be aware that I’m kind of into the Mt. Rushmore thing. So here’s mine for college players, although since it’s basketball mine has five, not four. Lew Alcindor — the greatest ever. Bill Walton — the key guy to the 88-game winning streak and two undefeated seasons. Christian Laettner — two titles, four straight Final Fours, three buzzer-beating shots to win, including the one against Kentucky in what may be the greatest game ever. Oscar Robertson — three-time player of the year and three-time finals participant in three tries. Bill Russell — won two titles and 60 straight. Toughest omissions: Pete Maravich, David Thompson, Magic Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Bobby Hurley, Larry Bird, Phil Ford and, OK, Michael Jordan, though he wasn’t close to the dominant player he became in the NBA.

Of course that may have more to do with the old joke that went like this: Who’s the only man in America who can regularly hold Michael Jordan to under 20 a night? Answer: Dean Smith.

Speaking of Deano, here’s the Mt. Rushmore for coaches: John Wooden (da), Deano, Bobby Knight, Coach K and Adolph Rupp — with Roy Williams coming up on the outside neck and neck with Pitino.

Before you get on me about being a back-in-the-day guy — because the best of the best now are at best one-and-done guys — they can’t build a body of work like all the folks mentioned above have.

Now if you want to say who’s the best one-and-done freshman ever, I’ll take Carmelo Anthony even though my friend and Syracuse alum (not so liberal) Lou DeMato wouldn’t put Anthony on his Mt. Rushmore of Syracuse players on my radio show last week because he was a one-and-done guy.

In case you are wondering, here’s my Rushmore of New Hampshire players (that I’ve seen): Matt Bonner, Mike Flanagan, Scott Drapeau, Tyler Roche and Tunji Awojobi.Toughest omissions: Rich Shrigley, Chris Lutz, Danny Duval, Skip Barry, James Best, Matt Alosa, Jeff Cross and the five or six I should have on here but can’t think of. Send me any additional choices to consider, but you can leave out the “how could you leave off so and so, you stupid idiot” pleasantries.

And with another big year I’m thinking Trinity’s Jordan Laguerre will make a run at this list.

And by the way if they are going to add a fifth President up there on the real Mt. Rushmore, President Obama’s going to have to do better with the economy than he did with his brackets. Though I will say when I saw him giving his reasons on ESPN I said he’s got no shot of winning because he knows too much about the teams involved and those people never win.

NH Hoops 101 Answer: With Dave Keefe picking up his first over Fitzpatrick (who has two) on Saturday, Stan Spirou now has six state titles in his family tree when added to the three Doc (10) Wheeler has won at Central. Doc played for Spirou at NHC, while Keefe and Fitzy played for him at Central and were followed by Colby-Sawyer mentor Bill Foti as well.

And speaking of Foti and Fitzpatrick, seeing Jason Chevrefils headed to Colby-Sawyer brings to mind the inside baseball that led to Kevin Garnett winding up in Boston thanks to the Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge teammate connection.

Does Trinity win some sort of prize for the boys winning and the girls team coming up just short by losing in the finals?

There, that made me feel better. No more Forrest Grump.

Dave Long can be reached at dlong@hippopress.com. He hosts Dave Long and Company from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday on WGAM – The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM Nashua.


3/19/2009 B-Ball, Coach B and Baseball in the mailbag today

3/12/2009 Great talent a rush but not all it's cracked up to be
3/5/2009 In Bill we still trust?
2/26/2009 A mountain over this molehill
2/19/2009 Steroids muscle in on game's strength
2/12/2009 Bonner bombs away on Cs in garden party homecoming
2/5/2009 Nation's angst ends as V-Tek says what the heck and rejoins flock
1/29/2009 Super Bowl Sunday brings to mind past and present
1/22/2009 The elusive quality of greatness is the topic of the day
1/15/2009 Spring cleaning of the sports mind a little early
1/8/2009 Will hall have Rice on the menu come July
1/1/2009 Predictions and wants for the year ahead
12/25/2008 A look in the rear view mirror at 2008
12/18/2008 The Pats' playoff run and new Yankees contracts make big news
12/11/2008 Random thoughts and associations
12/4/2008 Pats should consider options when it comes to Cassel and Brady
11/27/2008 Putting the thanks in Thanksgiving
11/20/2008 News of the week has people talking
11/13/2008 Cassel's in the clouds compared to early expectations11/6/2008 Mail bag delivers some interesting questiont10/30/2008"Yankees Suck" - like mentality fuels political discontent10/23/2008 No ray of hope as season closes in Tampa Bay
10/16/2008 Going to the nines a thing of the past
10/9/2008 C-eeing some interesting stories unfold this week
10/2/2008 "How come?" is the main question of the day
9/25/2008 Observations on baseball in 2008
9/18/2008 If I were a QB, a DB, a stat geek or a soccer mom ...
9/11/2008 After disaster Brady's bunch won't pass on season
9/4/2008 Pats start off with high expectation and some concerns
8/28/2008 A race to the finish to take all month long
8/21/2008 National news items of interest for local folks
8/14/2008 A little of this and that from the good side of sports pile
8/7/2008 Manny happy returns from the Evil Empire
7/31/2008 Manny being Manny - the sequel Part XXXII
7/24/2008 Open the mail bag for some Red Sox questions
7/17/2008 Hall-worthy or not the latest question on Schilling
7/10/2008 Baseball season has actually started
7/03/2008 UL editorial in denial — stop the presses
6/26/2008 Boston turnaround makes NBA green with envy
6/19/2008 Letters from the NBA finals
6/12/2008 A Father's Day letter to dad
6/5/2008 Twenty-one and six are the lucky numbers for the Cs
5/29/2008 Sometimes a bat is just a bat
5/22/2008 Some questions for folks right up there in the front row
5/15/2008 Numbers don't add up to supposed Fenway
5/8/2008 Cavalier attitude nearly derails first meeting with LeBron
5/1/2008 I'm so old,I remember ...
4/24/2008 Sox Line-ups, Celtics and ESPN investigations are in the mail bag
4/17/2008 Show me the way to that All-Star Game
4/10/2008 For C'ing a great time ahead as playoffs arrive this spring
4/3/2008 Bill James and the stats for 2008 — Take Two
3/27/2008 Drowning in the NCAA office pool
3/20/2008 Whether forecast is right or not is the question
3/13/2008 Comment sparks wonder over just what I did
3/6/2008 New hires, new trades in pro sports
2/28/2008 Celtics issues far from black and white in the early days
2/21/2008 Congressional ineptitude muscles in on steroid hearings
2/14/2008 Basketball rounds into form under the cover of Pats football
2/7/2008 A giant win leaves Patriots fans feeling blue
1/31/2008 Foxboro lads earn pats on the back, and old Celtics mystique makes sense
1/24/2008 Mail bag asks about Rice, the hall and wild-eyed liberals
1/17/2008 Peyton manning the fort back home as Pats take on Chargers
1/10/2008 Grumpy old Dolphins are lost at sea on this one
1/3/2008 The primary concern is getting a clear picture
12/27/2007 The annual sports awards close out 2007
12/20/2007 Holiday gifts for the deserving and not so deserving
12/13/2007 Jets land in Foxboro as pat go number 14
12/06/2007 To include or not to include Ellsbury — that is the questione
11/29/2007 Yanked from the sports pages in the Big Apple
11/22/2007 Here's what I'm thankful for at Thanksgiving
11/15/2007 Waiting game leads to a series of random thoughts
11/8/2007 OK — it's week nine and I'm ready to talk
11/1/2007 Finally a little shut-eye for a sleep deprived nation
10/25/2007 A rocky mountain high for Red Sox Nation
10/18/2007 Time to go to the mailbag
10/112007 Who'd more popular, Patriots or Red Sox
10/4/2007 IA weekend chock full of nuts, chokes and great moments
9/27/2007 I hate to say I told you so...
9/20/2007 Media and fan bias shades the severity of sports crime
9/13/2007 All round baseball week starts with a look at leaders
9/6/2007 It's Superbowl or bust for Pats in 2007
8/30/2007 The race is on as baseball enters September
8/23/2007 Spine vs. lack of spine theme for school board debate
8/16/2007 Time for thoughts from the summer mailbag
8/9/2007 Will this three make it big in Boston?
8/2/2007 Trading places all in a day's work for Boston GMs
7/26/2007 Getting out of a slump; an ameteur golfer can feel Sox' pain
7/19/2007 Does second chance guarantee a great outcome?
7/12/2007 Masse still a honeymooner in local baseball culture
7/5/2007 Brown Monster a big Fisher Cat hit
6/28/2007 Rambling along with some random thoughts
6/21/2007 The future is now for the C's come Thursday night
6/14/2007 Homers create bonds among fans for generations
6/07/2007 Sox win by losing two of three this weekend
5/31/2007 Lutz of things to think about
5/24/2007 Down 2-0 M’s for playoff payoff
5/17/2007 Baseballs' conventional wisdom is for the birds
5/10/2007 The Rocket lands in Gotham during Monarchs' playoff break
5/3/2007 Raiders say "No Moss" in fight with talented wideout
4/26/2007 A little history on the ancient Sox and Yanks rivalry
4/19/2007 Lessons to be learned from Robinson, Monarchs and I-Man
4/12/2007 A few questions for the sports gods
4/5/2007 Stanton his case on a variety of current topics
3/29/2007 Sox spring back into action on Monday
3/22/2007 A guide for having fun on NCAA hockey weekend
3/15/2007 The madness of March kicks off on Thursday
3/8/2007 Jumping through hoops after an odd season
3/1/2007 A trip to the mail bag for Hippo Sports
2/22/2007 Six degrees of Muhammed Ali
2/15/2007 Monarchs rule as streak reaches 12
2/8/2007 Talking a good game ahead on all-sports WGAM
2/1/2007 Manning the Super Bowl watch more difficult in '07
1/25/2007 Winning and what else matters in college coaching
1/18/2007 ESPN polls are fanning the flames of national lunacy
1/11/2007 Patriots marching to MIami promised land
1/4/2007 Predictions for 2007
12/28/2006 REcognizing the best on the national front
12/21/2006 Present under the tree for all
12/14/2006 Mailbag open for busines at a time filled with questions
12/07/2006 Lions and Gators and Bears, oh my
11/30/2006 Does Fenway frankness roll to the negative side?
11/23/2006 Turkeys and thanks as the big day arrives
11/16/2006 Green-around-the-gills Celts looking to earn some respect
11/9/2006 Blame game reaches new local low
11/2/2006 A week of highs and lows in sport
10/26/2006 Curses! The U is foiled again
10/19/2006 Time for a trip to the sports mailbag
10/12/2006 U turns Granite Stare around on football
10/05/2006 James' gang riding into town to face the Celtics
09/28/2006 Words to describe a lost Red Sox season
09/21/2006 Football Friday can't stack up to Saturday
09/14/2006 A lesson to be learned in remembering a somber day
09/07/2006 Usual pat choice to win AFC East questioned
08/31/2006 Whining won't yank AL East away from NY
08/24/2006 Spring forward or fall behind for Sox
08/17/2006 Trash talking abounds in the Empire over Sox and Pats
08/10/2006 Monarchs call press conference to crown new leader
08/03/2006 Deadly Fenway duo leave mark on history
07/27/2006 Word of the wise gets lost in sports translation
07/20/2006 Looking beyond the Big Three
07/13/2006 Cream rises to the top of baseball talk at the Dot
07/06/2006 Greetings and salutations toThe Nation at mid-year
06/29/2006 Being dealt is a consequence of the trade
06/22/2006 A year later, Boudreau's cup runneth over
06/15/2006 See dogs and cats battle for a different fan experience
06/08/2006 Not Bad Anymore league makes a comeback
06/01/2006 Luck goes Sox way with Lowell in Massachusetts
05/25/2006 Pitching in to help the Sox trade a few places
05/18/2006 Going to school by cutting Red Sox payroll
05/11/2006 Columnist blows his mind; here are the results
05/04/2006 Yanks stormed Manchester 37 years ago this week
04/27/2006 Regular crowd nowhere to be found come playoff time
04/20/2006 Questions and answers from the mailbag
04/13/2006 Local sports teams spring into action
04/06/2006 Predictable Red Sox season lies ahead
03/30/2006 Analyzing this and that as Pats roster shrinks
03/23/2006 A week of following the bouncing balls
03/16/2006 The beginning of four days of basketball bliss
03/09/2006 Many miss the central point of the story
03/02/2006 Better late than never to jump through local hoops
02/23/2006 Celtic green means raw, not envy as it once did
02/16/2003 An issue that is all black and white
02/09/2006 Nomar curses from the UL's Sullivan
02/02/2006 Super memories from 40 years of watching the big game
01/26/2006 A certain uniformity to the inquiries in the mailbag
01/19/2006 Sudden end to Pats' season leave just one thing to do
01/12/2006 Pats on the back for the football team
01/05/2006 Predictions for Manchester Sports 2031
A lesson for Leo the Lip and nice guys everywhere

Chop House opening is Berra of good news
Event-filled weekend missed en route to evil empire
Hero’s death lays to rest misuse of the word
Saint Theo ascends to new heights in The Nation
Santa sack filled to the brim with sports
Patriots march through injuries toward threepeat
Sports talk should be on the air
Stars shine brightest when winning is in the mix
The Demonization of Johnny Damon
Thirty-seven topics and so little space
Too many holes in Sox for repeat
Trip to the injured list makes it a long weekend for local scribe
Turkeys and giving thanks take center stage this week
Yanked from the edge of your seat