"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 12/1/12
THE definition of "ugly?" How 'bout the Western New England basketball team's performance vs. Eastern CT during the ECSU Tip-Off Tournament a couple weeks ago? Eastern CT won 62-34, and enjoyed a 19-point lead at halftime. Western New England was led in scoring by forward Kevin Wilkes--who had a grand total of just SEVEN points off the bench. The topper? The losing squad shot 2-for-19 from three-point range; yes, folks, that's a shooting % of just 10.5. I haven't seen anything THAT ugly since the mug shot of Nick Nolte following his DUI arrest back in 2002..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 2001-'02 Houston Rockets--who won just 24 games under coach Rudy Tomjanovich--were led in scoring by a guard who played 11 seasons in the NBA. Can you name this former second-round draft pick? Answer to follow..........ITEM: Jack Taylor of Grinnell College scores 138 points in a game vs. Faith Baptist Bible--making 27-of-71 three-pt. shots while shooting 52-of-108 overall from the field. Right now, I can only think of three things that Taylor can do in the future that might be more impressive: 1) erasing the federal deficit, 2) curing cancer, or 3) counseling the Lohan family with successful results..........Interesting tidbit: We all remember Jose Canseco as a baseball player who had both power AND speed, right? He was the first player to hit 40 HR's and steal 40 bases in one season (1988); one would think he'd amass a bunch of triples with that unique combination. But in 17 years in the "bigs", Canseco hit only 14 triples. His individual season-high? Just THREE--coming in 1987..........Update on former Yale punter Tom Mante--one of the most pleasant college players I've ever interviewed: Playing for the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL back in 2011, he ended up breaking his collarbone at the end of the season. He was invited to the Dallas Cowboys mini-camp earlier this year; he didn't get signed, but called it a "great experience." So what do responsible, smart young guys like Mante do when one opportunity doesn't quite pan out? They move on: He's now enrolled at Vanderbilt's Owen School of Management and is on track to receive an MBA in 2014. Meanwhile, he's using the Vanderbilt athletic facilities--working out regularly just in case a possible NFL gig pops up again. Continued good luck, Tom, and thanks for checking in..........ITEM: Race car driver Danica Patrick and her husband, Paul, are divorcing after seven years of marriage. Message to Ms. Patrick: Aging, arthritic sports columnists may not be the GREATEST "catches" in the world, but they ARE very loyal and kind.........Here's a stat for you: PGA golfer Brian Gay attempted 1,400 putts within ten feet in 2012 and made 1,262 of them--a success rate of 90.14%. Perhaps just as amazing is this: Despite his putting mastery, the guy finished 104th on the PGA Tour money list. Yes, just further evidence of HOW good these golfers really are, folks, and how fiercely competitive the game truly is..........Time to gloat: I coached a young man named Jamie Kohn at the middle school level--a very talented basketball player and TREMENDOUS student. Jamie went on to star at Coventry (CT) High School, then played four years at Division III Eastern CT--leading them to an NCAA tournament appearance in his senior year. What's he up to these days? Kohn is now playing for the Tees Valley Mohawks in England's top professional league. At last look, he was NUMBER ONE in the league's player rankings--averaging more than 20 points/9 rebounds per game. Jamie, you've made MANY people proud over the past few years--both on AND off the court; keep up the great work, pal..........Answer to trivia question: CUTTINO MOBLEY--who averaged 21.7 ppg while shooting an impressive 85% from the FT line; he played his college ball at Rhode Island..........Finally, condolences go out to the family of legendary Ansonia High (CT) football coach Jack Hunt--who passed away recently from esophageal cancer at the age of 66. Coaching from 1987-2005, Hunt compiled a record of 193-26 while winning SEVEN state titles. Yes, quite frankly, he was one of the greatest football coaches in state history. I'd always call him the "Gentle Giant" when we were able to chat; he'd simply smile and put his hand on my shoulder as we exchanged pleasantries/talked about his team's usual dominant performances. Yes, Mr. Hunt, the program continues to strive for excellence due to the immense stamp YOU put on it; I know current coach Tom Brockett will surely confirm that. You'll be missed, Coach Hunt; may you rest in peace.