Monday, February 04, 2008

"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 2-09-08

As the Giants' upset win over New England in Super Bowl XLII continues to sink in, I'll just offer this about the game: great drama, great suspense, and a GREAT Victoria's Secret ad; congrats, G-Men..........Kudos to Shaquille O'Neal for coming right out and saying he didn't deserve to be named to this year's NBA All-Star squad after 14 consecutive selections; he wasn't voted in by fans or coaches this year. He also disagreed with coach Pat Riley's attempts to get the Miami center on the team--an effort made solely due to Shaq's years of service to the NBA. As a guy who's been critical of O'Neal in the past (mainly of his so-called "greatness" and superstar status), I do respect the man for doing what's right this time. The All-Star games in ANY sport are played to honor the league's best players THAT SEASON; it's very honorable of Shaq to "tell it like it is" and not accept what he hasn't earned. Yes, the wish here is that other athletes will follow suit and be a bit more grounded--as Shaq was in this particular situation.........."Who Am I?" TRIVIA QUESTION: I was a former All-American college quarterback during the 1970's and later became an All-Pro safety in the NFL. I played in four consecutive Pro Bowls; in fact, during a Pro Bowl game during the 1980's, I intercepted a future Hall of Famer's pass and returned it for a touchdown. Later, I was elected to the NFL 1980's All-Decade Team. I went on to be an assistant coach for a few teams in the NFL before becoming an offensive coordinator at a major college program. Who am I? Answer to follow..........Lazzari's "Lopsided Score of the Week": In a Connecticut girls high school basketball game recently, Sport and Medical Sciences (SMSA) defeated Norwich Tech 48-7 (yes, that's a BASKETBALL score, folks--not football); the winning team held a 25-0 lead at halftime. The AMAZING part of this fiasco? The losing Tech squad scored all seven points in ONE period--the third--meaning that they scored ZERO POINTS in the first, second, and fourth quarters combined. Good news and bad news for Norwich Tech; the good news is that valuable life lessons were most likely learned about handling adversity and playing hard despite the score. The BAD news is that SMSA had three players who individually outscored the entire Norwich Tech TEAM--and that the 7-point effort by Tech that evening was 12 points less than an already-horrific team average of 19 ppg..........From the "Sign of the Times" Dept.: UCONN hoopster Doug Wiggins says police were "unfair" to him (poor baby) after his recent alcohol-related incident/run-in with UCONN police. Yes, this coming from a guy who's flunked a couple of drug tests in the past and was driving with a suspended license; he's also had numerous encounters with law enforcement officials previously. A message to the young player from East Hartford: If you TRULY desire police officers to be "nice" from now on, Doug, why don't you attempt to do something really "out there" and foreign--that is, try becoming a LAW-ABIDING citizen. Trust me, Doug--it actually works!..........The "Unwatchable NBA" Update: During their overtime loss to Portland last week, the Knicks shot 2-for-17 from three-point range (12%) and amassed just 12 assists AS A TEAM. All I'll say is that there is NEVER a shortage of material for this regular feature of my sports column--which is further proof that the NBA is a shell of what it once was, folks..........Without question, "Lipstick Jungle" star Brooke Shields looks better now at age 42 than she did at 22--and I am CONVINCED she has done it without steroids and/or human growth hormone..........The odds of the Providence women's basketball team beating UCONN last weekend were about the same as the Valley Times sending yours truly to Arizona to cover Super Bowl XLII..........Answer to trivia question: NOLAN CROMWELL--who played his entire NFL career (1977-87) with the Los Angeles Rams..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former major league outfielder Ben Oglivie--who blows out 59 candles on February 11th. Born in Panama, Ben played 16 seasons between 1971 and 1986 for the Red Sox, Tigers, and Brewers--hitting .273 lifetime while clubbing 235 home runs. Without question, Oglivie's best year came in 1980 while with the Brewers--a season in which he hit an impressive 41 home runs (tying Reggie Jackson for the AL lead) while driving in 118 runs; he was named to the American League All-Star squad in '80, '82, and '83. Best wishes, Ben, as you share the same birth date with my dear mother--who died this past October; I miss you very much, Mom..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former USC football coach Larry Smith--who died recently in Arizona at the age of 68 due to chronic lymphatic leukemia. In addition to his job at Southern California, Smith also coached Tulane, Arizona, and Missouri during a 24-year coaching career--compiling a lifetime record of 143-126-7. Smith spent six years at USC (1987-1993) and took the Trojans to the Rose Bowl in each of his first three seasons; his teams were 3-6-1 overall in bowl games. Smith is survived by his wife, Cheryl, two children, and several grandchildren. Rest in peace, "Coach."


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