"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 3/10/12
Five individuals/state residents have been selected by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance to receive 2012 John Wentworth Good Sport Awards at the upcoming Gold Key Dinner. John Commune, Ed Gadomski, Bob Peruzzotti, Wayne Potvin, and John Riley will be the honorees. Given in memory of the longtime sports editor of the New Britain Herald, these awards recognize those individuals who've contributed greatly to sports in their communities. The 71st annual Gold Key Dinner will be held on April 29th at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. For more information, email Alliance president George Albano at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (203)434-2320..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1983-'84 Denver Nuggets--who finished 38-44 under coach Doug Moe--had two of the NBA's top five scorers on their roster that season. Can you name these two gentlemen? Answer to follow..........Any guys out there having a ROTTEN day? Go to the current SI Swimsuit Issue and turn to page 126; I guarantee your day will improve IMMEDIATELY..........Did you know that former NBA center/Yale product Chris Dudley--who played in the league between 1987 and 2003 for five different teams--had a career free-throw % of just .458? His worst year at the line came during the '89-'90 season as a member of the Cavaliers and Nets when he attempted 182 free throws and converted just 58. Yes, that translates to a putrid FT% of LESS than 32%. Quite simply, it CANNOT get much uglier than that, folks.........This week in sports history, March 13, 1961: In a world heavyweight championship fight held in Miami, Floyd Patterson survives two first-round knockdowns but recovers to KO Swedish rival Ingemar Johansson in round six. It was a fast-paced bout scheduled for 15 rounds and both fighters were clearly looking for a quick knockout. The end came at 2:45 of the sixth as Patterson sent Johansson reeling with a left to the body followed by two vicious right hands. The Swede was able to rise to his feet at the count of seven, but then fell again--enabling the 26-year-old Patterson to retain his title..........My friend Bob Salomon--who helped create the award-winning book A Glove Of Their Own--continues to do great charitable things. Numerous organizations have used the book in order to spread the message of helping children. Proceeds from the book continue to be used to deliver new/used sporting goods or funds to children in need. Legendary baseball names have joined Salomon's cause--the latest being former player/current manager Don Mattingly. Mattingly runs a number of charities that promote baseball/softball participation. Anyone ordering A Glove Of Their Own will have $3 donated to "Mattingly Charities" when using the code "DON23" at agloveoftheirown.com. Keep up the fine work, Bob..........Answer to trivia question: KIKI VANDEWEGHE (29.4 ppg) and ALEX ENGLISH (26.4)..........ITEM: Former New York Yankees "can't miss" pitching prospect Brien Taylor--the #1 selection in the 1991 draft--has been busted in North Carolina on multiple drug charges; undercover narcotics agents allegedly bought large quantities of cocaine/crack from Taylor over a several month period. Reader Tim Parry chimed in shortly after the story broke: "Just when we thought we'd never hear from Brien Taylor ever again, it now appears we TRULY won't be hearing from Brien Taylor ever again!"..........Happy birthday wishes go out to former NBA player Isaiah "J.R." Rider--who blows out 41 candles on March 12th. A native of Oakland, CA, Rider played at UNLV and was taken in the first round of the 1993 draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves (fifth pick overall). Rider played nine seasons in the league--averaging 16.7 ppg during his career while playing for five different teams. However, his basketball talent was often overshadowed by conflicts with various coaches and teammates along with run-ins with the police. He later spent time in jail for drug possession; there were also arrests for gun possession, assault, auto theft, and kidnapping. Yes, sadly, Isaiah Rider had the potential to be a SUPERSTAR in the NBA; personal demons prevented him from doing so. Here's hoping that he's a clean-living, law-abiding citizen at this juncture; best wishes, "J.R."..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of former Iowa women's track coach Jerry Hassard--who died unexpectedly at his Rhode Island home back in February; he was just 61. A native of Long Island, Hassard led the Hawkeyes from 1975-1995; he coached 50 All-Americans, 44 Big Ten champions, and three NCAA champions. He was named the Big Ten coach of the year in 1989; he later coached both the men's and women's track teams at Bryant University in Rhode Island. Hassard is survived by his mother, Dorothy, two brothers, and several nieces and nephews. Rest in peace, "Coach."