"Lazzari's Sports Roundup" - - - - 1/12/13
"Raven" Update: The man just simply keeps going. My good friend Robert "Raven" Kraft of Miami Beach just completed his 38th CONSECUTIVE year of completing his 8-mile daily run--yes, EVERY day, folks. At the end of April, it will be 14,000 straight days of running on the soft, sandy beach for this remarkable man who currently has logged in more than 111,000 miles since this unfathomable streak began. It started as a New Year's resolution back in 1975--to run every day for a year; he now has a cult following and even has been featured on HBO's 'Real Sports' series. He's been mentioned in this column numerous times over the years; words now seem useless when trying to describe the type of inspiration he's been to COUNTLESS people on a daily basis for a very long time. Very few things in life have caused one particular sports columnist to be awed and simply say, "Wow"; this man and his accomplishments HAVE. The legend of "Raven" continues; keep running, my friend..........TRIVIA QUESTION: The 1993-'94 Milwaukee Bucks--who finished a pathetic 20-62 under coach Mike Dunleavy--were led in scoring by a Big East product who would play nine seasons in the NBA. Can you name this former player? Answer to follow..........The Yale women's ice hockey team is dedicating its game at Ingalls Rink on Saturday, Jan. 26, to Mandi Schwartz--utilizing the game vs. Colgate as a fundraiser for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation. Aleca Hughes, Yale's former captain, started the charity in memory of Mandi--the Bulldogs center who passed away in April 2011 after battling cancer for more than two years. Everyone attending is encouraged to wear white as a "White Out for Mandi" show of support. The team is currently lining up pledges from donors based on the attendance total; no admission will be charged and donations will also be accepted at the door. Special white t-shirts will be sold, and youth hockey teams are encouraged to come wearing white jerseys. The Bulldogs will also honor Mandi in a special pre-game ceremony. In addition, Mandi's parents will be in attendance to present Aleca with ECAC Hockey’s Mandi Schwartz Award as Student-Athlete of the Year for 2011-'12. More information about this terrific cause/touching event can be obtained by visiting www.yalebulldogs.com..........From the "Can't Get Uglier" Dept.: How 'bout the Brooklyn Nets--who recently scored a grand total of just FIVE points in the third quarter of a blowout loss at San Antonio? Is it ME--or doesn't every NBA team in history score five points in a quarter just by getting off the team bus PRIOR to the game? Ughhhh..........Did you know that the 1988-'89 Indiana Pacers employed FOUR different head coaches during a disastrous 28-54 season? After going 0-7, Jack Ramsay stepped down; Mel Daniels and George Irvine both filled in on an interim basis before Dick Versace compiled a 22-31 record to finish the season..........Just thinkin': If LPGA player Amy Hung tied the knot with Kansas optometrist Jim Jury, courtroom drama enthusiasts everywhere would surely delight in her full married name of Amy Hung Jury..........How 'bout that lopsided girls high school basketball score last month out in Indiana--where Bloomington South annihilated Arlington 107-2? Arlington did NOT score a field goal in the game; their two points came on free throws during the second and third quarters. Ummm, do you think this might be MAJOR evidence for the need of a "mercy rule" in that particular league? On one hand, you just never want to see a squad take a beating like that; if you're coaching on the winning side, you also can't tell your last five players on the bench NOT to compete. Let's just hope that none of us see another 105-point victory in the foreseeable future..........Answer to trivia question: ERIC MURDOCK--who averaged 15.3 ppg that season; he played with SEVEN different teams in a career that spanned from 1991-2000..........Finally, condolences go out to former NHL coach/executive Wren Blair--who passed away recently in Ontario, Canada at the age of 87. Blair, originally a scout, is probably best-known for having signed a 14-year-old phenom named Bobby Orr to a Boston Bruins-sponsored team in 1962. Nicknamed "The Bird," Wren went on to become the first coach/GM of the Minnesota North Stars in 1967 and later held executive positions with the Pittsburgh Penguins and L.A. Kings. Predeceased by his wife, Elma, Blair is survived by a son, Dan, and a daughter, Jill--along with two brothers and several grandchildren. May Wren Blair rest in peace.