The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 3, 1998 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, April 3, 1998
Page 15
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FRIDAY APRILS, 19S8 THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports COLLEGE BASKETBALL / C4 FHSU FOOTBALL / C5 CLASSIFIED / C6 c V SPORTS JOURNAL HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal Pierce revered, reviled after announcement Twenty minutes before Paul Pierce announced he was heading to the NBA, a KU fan — and I use the term "fan" rather loosely — posted a message on an internet bulletin board for Jayhawk basketball. The guy — named "Stevehawk" — blasted Pierce for leaving the Kansas program after his junior season. Apparently, this gentleman regarded it as a slap in the face that Pierce had decided to financially support his mother and realize his dream of playing against the best professional basketball players in the world. • . Here's a sample of Stevehawk's posted message: "In my view, this move by Paul to schedule a press conference in LALA land is as gutless a move as he could have made. I realize he is in LA for the Wooden anounce- ment tomorrow evening, but why not return to Lawrence after he finishes out of the money and make his statement in Lawrence before the adoring Jayhawk faithful. Perhaps he's a bit afraid the faithful wouldn't adore this decision ... , "... If the only reason Paul is making this move is for 'security for my family,' that is not only bull, but it points up that Paul is, at his core, a greedy and selfish person. He's not thinking about his school, his coach or his teammates ... "... You can wish Paul well if you want, but I won't." You can imagine the response this piece of garbage received. In less than two hours, 12 replies -popped up on the board and no one had a kind word to say for the fellow who was, more than likely, wearing purple underwear and black and gold socks. One of the better responses went something like this: "Every person needs to make decisions in life that are in his best interest and those of his loved ones. Paul Pierce owes the University of Kansas nothing. We are all, except for jerks like you, glad we had the privilege of watching him play here for three years. Anyone •who thinks otherwise needs to head straight to the toilet, jump in and pull the handle." Yes, a 3-pointer! It would have been nice for Pierce to hold a press conference in Allen Fieldhouse, but what's wrong with surrounding yourself with family and friends while making possibly the biggest decision of your life? Pierce didn't exactly grow up in the land of milk-and-honey, and giving Inglewood (Calif.) High School the opportunity to welcome back one of its most famous athletes is anything but a selfish act. I've covered Kansas basketball for 17 years and Pierce was a special one who doesn't come along often. He was a Rolls Royce in the Jand of Big 12 sedans. • So where does this leave the 1998-99 Jayhawks? Regardless of what dire predictions you might hear in the next few days, the cupboard is not bare in Lawrence. Far from it. .IHeck, the Jayhawks may even iQse six or seven games next year. I mean, can anyone handle a 25-7 season? -Let's see, the Jayhawks could start a McDonald's All-American at the point (Ryan Robertson), a McDonald's All-American at shooting guard (Kenny Gregory), a McDonald's All-American at pOwer forward (Lester Earl) and a McDonald's All-American in the middle (Eric Chenowith) to go along with T.J. Pugh. Of course, Roy also has a McDonald's All-American (Jeff Boschee) to back up Robertson. So don't cry too many tears for those depleted Jayhawks. Good luck Paul. It's been a great three years. ' • And for those of you interest- led in attending the KU Seniors Game in Salina on April 19, Pierce will not be attending. The tentative roster lists seniors Raef LaFrentz, Billy Thomas and C.B. McGrath and former KU 'players Jerod Haase, Scott Novosel and Joel Branstrom. i The roster for the Central !Kansas All-Stars — a 12-player team of high school seniors who will play the Jayhawks — hasn't been finalized. T COLLEGE BASKETBALL Pierce leaving KU for NBA Junior first Jay hawk in Williams era to depart early for pros By BETH HARRIS The Associated Press INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Goodbye, Kansas. Hello, NBA. Paul Pierce, the All-America forward from Kansas, announced Thursday he is forgoing his senior year to enter the NBA draft in June. Pierce, who made the announcement at Inglewood High where he starred before going to Kansas, is the first player to leave school early in coach Roy Williams' 10 years as coach of the Jay- hawks. "It's always been my dream to play in the NBA and hopefully this is a good opportunity for me," Pierce told about 75 friends, former teammates and teachers gathered in the school's gym. "I feel like it's my time. I feel like I'm more than ready." Williams, among those in atten- PIERCE 4 Renders resigns / Page C4 dance, had told Pierce "to be as selfish as he can be" in making his decision. The 6-foot-7 Pierce was in his hometown to attend Friday's announcement of the John R. Wooden Award winner, being presented Friday at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Pierce and teammate Raef LaFrentz, also a first-team All-America, were among the five finalists. "I told him there was no doubt in my mind that he was ready," Williams said. "I don't think there's any doubt it's the best decision for Paul. The young man has given us three great years." Williams called Pierce "a youngster who is a far, far better person than he is a basketball player." Both Jacque Vaughn, a point guard who graduated last year, and LaFrentz, who just finished his senior See PIERCE, Page C4 1998 ALL-COUNTY BASKETBALL TEAMS Photos by KELLY PRESNELL/The Salina Journal The Salina Journal's All-County Boys Basketball Team (from left): Thane Douglas, Southeast of Saline; Pete Stroer, Salina Central; Josh Krone, Ell-Saline; Greg Gibson, Salina South; Tyler Charvat, Salina South; and (front) coach of the year Denny Wahlgren, Salina South. The story appears on Page C3. The Salina Journal's All-County Girls Basketball Team (from left): Leah Wahlgren, Salina South; Jessica Watson, Salina South; Alyssa Shriver, Salina South; Chrissy Blagg, Sacred Heart; Anne Weese, Sacred Heart; and (front) coach of the year Bruce Er- Ickson, Salina South. The story appears on Page C3. T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL O's score four runs in ninth to nip Royals Hammonds delivers two-out, two-run single off KC's Montgomery By DAVID GINSBURG The Associated Press BALTIMORE — This probably wouldn't have happened last season. The Baltimore Orioles won 98 games last year, but few in the fashion in which they beat the Kansas City Royals on Thursday night. Jeffrey Hammonds' two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning capped a four-run uprising that gave the Orioles an uplifting 4-3 victory. Baltimore, which won 3 the series 2-1, had only two hits and trailed 3-0 before rallying against Jeff Montgomery (0-1). "Those are the kind of things you pray for early in the year," Baltimore manager Ray Miller said. "We didn't do that a lot last year." The Orioles were 3-54 last season in games in which they trailed after the eighth inning. Harold Baines led off the ninth with a home run, his third hit of the game, and Cal Ripken drew a one-out walk before Chris Hoiles singled with two outs. Montgomery then hit pinch-hitter Joe Carter to load the bases and forced in a run by walking Brady Anderson. Hammonds followed by grounding a 2-2 pitch through the left side, scoring pinch-runner Mike Bordick and Carter, who easily beat the throw from left fielder Shane Halter. "When Brady walked to get me a chance to win the game, I took it personally," said Hammonds, the Orioles' fqurth outfielder behind B.J. Surhoff, Anderson and Eric Davis. "They don't respect me yet. I'm trying to get my respect. "It was a great win for us tonight," Hammonds said. "We came back and we won the series. Hopefully this will propel us to better things." Armando Benitez (1-0), the sixth Baltimore pitcher, got the last out in the ninth to earn the victory. "This is a veteran club, but whether you're veteran or you're young, you have to believe in yourself," Miller said. "To come back against a veteran closer like Montgomery is good for the ball- club." The comeback ruined a fine performance by Kansas City starter Pat Rapp, who allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings in his American League debut. He walked six but struck out three and did not allow a runner past second base. ROBERTSON Rest of 'Hawks upbeat Loss of Pierce hurts, but KU players ready to meet challenge By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal For three seasons, Paul Pierce was one of Ryan Robertson's best friends on the Kansas basketball team. Robertson and Pierce won't be together for a fourth after Thursday's announcement from Los Angeles that Pierce will forego his senior season at KU and enter his name into the NBA draft. "What I'll miss most is having him in the locker room," Robertson said. "That's a side that most people don't know. He was extremely funny. He was great to have in the locker room. We shared a lot of laughs." Now, all that will be shared are memories. "We're all going to have to be more fired up and intense in our off-season workouts," Robertson said. "It's just a bigger challenge, but I kind of like our chances this way. We're going to have to depend a lot more on fundamentals instead of kind of falling back on our two Ail-Americans (Raef LaFrentz and Pierce) or the amount of talent that we had. "That's another good thing about this team. There's still a lot of big- time players remaining." Jayhawk junior T.J. Pugh wasn't surprised by Pierce's decision. "I kind of expected it," Pugh said. "I think everyone thought it was going to be a tough choice. I agree with what he did and I think you definitely have to support him. "I don't think you could find anyone who would tell me they wouldn't take a job like that with a year left in college if they had the offer. I think he will be a fine NBA player." But there's no question the Jay- hawks will miss Pierce's 20.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. "I think we would be a much bet;ter team with Paul rather than without him," Pugh said. "You can't say 'good riddance, he's gone.' We're definitely not saying that at all. "We're not going to be a bad team because Paul left. It's just going tQ be a little different." KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Sept^ 6 Sept. 13 Sept, 20 Sept. 27 Cot, 4 Oct. 11 Opt, 18 Oct. 26 Npv.1 Nov. 8 Nov. 16 Nov. 22 Noy,89 Dec. 6 De,M3 Dec. 20 Deo. 26 1998 Schedule} Oakland, 7j29p,m|| at Jacksonville, noon" San Diego, noon; at Philadelphia, noorP • Seattle, 7?ft»<|M|if at New England, noorj* •Qpt$| Pittsburgh, 7:20 p.m. N.Y. Ot|«, 3:15 p.m. at Seattle, 3 p.m, Denver, 7:20 p.m. at San Diego, 3:15 p.m. Arizona, noon at Denver, 3:15 p.m. D«ll«s, 3:15 p.m. at N.Y. Giants, noon it Qakltnd, 3:15 p.m, SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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