The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 22, 1998 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

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Salina, Kansas
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Friday, May 22, 1998
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THE SAL! T COMMENT r OURNAL JIM LITKE The Associated Press Sprewell suit gives lawyers worse name Latrell Sprewell is suing the NBA for $30 million. Insert your own lawyer joke here. "Latrell is tired of being demonized," his lawyer, Robert Thompson, said. "He feels very strongly and personally about this." No wonder. Last December, Sprewell choked his boss, Warriors coach P. J. Carlesimo, and got fired. One day, he was out $32 million. The next, NBA arbitrator John "Free Spree" Feerick ordered the league to reinstate Sprewell and the final two years of his contract. Sprewell goes back to work July 1. He is on a roll and besides, he's got a legal team and all kinds of hangers-on with grocery, clothing and cellular phone bills to carry. So why stop now? "He believes," said Robert Gist, Spree's legal adviser, "this lawsuit is necessary to shine the light upon the hypocrisy of the NBA and Warriors, and to restore his own reputation." It will restore his reputation, all right. Privately, people who have played with Sprewell call him selfish, double-dealing and occasionally out of control, a guy who busts up set plays or just about anything else when the mood strikes him. And the 33-page lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., is bristling with confirmation. At one point, it notes how Sprewell, despite the Warriors' losing season, provided leadership by becoming the team captain and "continued to receive accolades for his performance, and posted statistics which demonstrated his high skill and ability." You hate to think where the Warriors would have been without Sprewell, not to mention his statistics and leadership, since they were a sparkling 1-13 at the time with them. At another point, the suit says that part of the Warriors' promotional campaign for the 1997-98 season included portraying Carlesimo as a tough guy. The coach is "presented to the public under the banner 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'... dressed like a gangster... and portrayed as a coach who enjoyed taunting and screaming at his team." Next to Carlesimo, however, you might also notice that Sprewell stands a half-foot taller, is maybe 20 pounds heavier and, at age 27, more than 20 years younger. All of which makes the description of what went down at practice on that winter afternoon even more interesting. Several days ago, Carlesimo appeared on ESPN's "Up Close" and was asked for the umpteenth time to give his version of the episode. He declined, despite two follow-up questions. Sprewell, though, was only too happy to give his version. In the suit, the attack is recounted as a "physical altercation" — though at the very least, "altercations" would be more accurate, since Sprewell "altercated" Carlesimo on two separate occasions, about 15 minutes apart. And it goes on to note that, "While Mr. Sprewell may have been involved in a few minor infractions during his career, he has not been involved in infractions such as using performance-enhancing drugs, gambling or 'fix- ing'a game." Not only does it shade the truth a little bit — in one minor infraction a few years ago, Sprewell went after then-teammate Jerome Kersey with a 2-by-4 following another "altercation" in practice — it also makes choking your boss sound much less repulsive than gulping steroids or going to Vegas on a weekend junket. Now maybe this whole thing is just Spree being Spree. Maybe it is just his way of attacking injustice everywhere he sees it. Next month, he is scheduled to be in court anyway to defend himself on charges of misdemeanor reckless driving. But more likely, the lawsuit is a matter of getting bad advice. Sprewell got a break with Feerick's interpretation of the incident the first time around. He should realize that. Sports BASEBALL / C3 TRACK HONOR ROLLS / C4 CLASSIFIED / C5 T COLLEGE BASEBALL: MIDWEST REGIONAL Shockers escape in opener Wichita State erases four-run deficit to beat Southeast Missouri St. By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal WICHITA — It wasn't the type of performance that will strike fear into the hearts of future opponents, but Gene Stephenson wasn't complaining. The Wichita State coach was just happy his No. 1-seeded Shockers had survived against upset-minded Southeast Missouri State in a first- round NCAA Midwest Regional game. The second-ranked Shockers spotted the Indians from the Ohio Valley Conference a four-run lead and then battled f^esa^^^^^- from behind for a llwHiMfflitt 7-4 victory Thurs- SE Missouri 4 day night at sold- out Eck Stadium. Wichita State 7 The Associated Press Southeast Missouri State shortstop Steve Lowe (left) tags out Wichita State's Joey Blue during the third inning of Thursday night's Midwest Regional game in Wichita. T HIGH SCHOOL STATE TENNIS "We were fortunate to come out of here with a win," Stephenson said. "I'm proud of my guys, but we'll have to play better tomorrow. I'm sure you guys aren't impressed." The victory was the 17th straight for the Shockers, improved their record to 56-5 overall and advanced them into today's 3 p.m. second- round game against Arkansas. But it was far from easy. Only outstanding relief pitching by Jeremy Troutman and Marc Bluma kept Southeast from sending the crowd of 6,097 home very unhappy. Troutman and Bluma didn't allow a hit in the final six innings and Bluma fanned five of the nine batters he faced to save the game for Troutman (4-0). "To hold those guys hitless after what they did in the first two-and- a-third innings was phenomenal," Stephenson said. Southeast coach Mark Hogan pointed to two plays that turned the tide in this one. Both came in the fourth inning when Wichita State turned a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 advantage. With two out and runners on first and second, WSU's Zach Sorenson singled hard to left field. Southeast left fielder Charlie • O-State, Arizona State post first-round victories / Page C3 Moreno came up firing, but hit WSU base runner Tim Hayes in the helmet with Hayes 10 feet from home plate. Hayes scored and the runners moved to second and third as the ball bounced away. Jeff Ryan then walked to load the bases and Pat Magness followed with a walk to score Kevin Hooper. Brian Preston then followed with a bloop double down the right field line to score two more runs, giving Wichita State a 5-4 lead. "That was an odd play, for an outfielder to throw the ball to home on the fly and hit the runner in the helmet," Hogan said. "I asked my catcher if the throw would have beaten the runner and he said, 'no question about it.' "We had a little bad luck there," he added. "Then there was that little flare (Preston's double) that fell in by two or three inches. Those were two huge plays in this ball game." The Indians (32-23)'hung in the game despite left-hander Ryan Spille getting pulled during the fourth inning. Spille (11-2) gave up just four hits in 3% innings, but walked nine batters and was in trouble from the outset. "They had a great pitcher going on the mound, but fortunately we were patient and (Spille) slowly undone himself," Stephenson said. "But, it was anything but easy for us. The other guy they brought in (Dan Huesgen) also threw well." Southeast showed the big crowd it meant business in its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tourna-; ment by scoring right off the bat on a lead-off double by Jeremy Johnson and a sacrifice fly by Darin Kinsolving. The Indians made it a 4-0 game in the top of the third inning by teeing off on WSU starter Ben Christensen. Wichita State got a run back in the bottom of the third on Sorenson's 16th homer of the season and then added four in the fourt. The Shockers added single runs in the sixth and eighth. Central takes aim at 5A crown With Blue Valley North in 6A, Mustangs have good shot .at state title By ARNE GREEN The Salina Journal Their No. 1 nemesis is gone and they are fully loaded. If ever the things were set up for the Salina Central Mustangs to claim their first Class 5A state tennis championship in five years, this is it. Blue Valley North, winner of the last four 5A titles, has jumped to Class 6A, leaving Central as one of the favorites this afternoon when the state tournament opens at Wichita State's Sheldon Coleman tennis complex. The first two rounds will be played today with the semifinals and finals starting Saturday morning. "They set us up to at least challenge for a state championship," said Central coach Bob Warken- T PRO BASKETBALL tine, whose Mustangs qualified their full team for the first time in his 17-year tenure. "That's a tribute to our kids. They worked all year long and set themselves up to get good (regional) seeds. "We're not taking any fourth- place (regional) finishers to state, so hopefully it will set us up well." The Mustangs, who finished second to Blue Valley North last year, have a prohibitive favorite in defending singles champion Pete Stroer. The junior has not lost a match since his freshman year. And the doubles team of Ben Hoffman and Jeff Lamb went three sets before losing to unbeaten Andy Johnson and Will Heidebrecht of McPherson in the regional final. Chris Wilson and Lance Jones were third in doubles at regionals, as was No. 2 singles player Andy Porter. "I think everybody is really positive toward state," said Stroer, who beat Buhler's Alvaro Marti 63, 6-1 in the regional final to push his season record to 26-0. „ The only other school to qualify a full team for the 5A tournament was Winfield, which finished first and second in both singles and doubles at the Winfield regional. The top challengers to Stroer should be Brent Steven of Wichita Kapaun, who placed fourth last year, and Topeka West's Martin Zovic, who both won their region- als. Jason Mettling of Winfield was the other regional champ. In doubles, none of last year's top finishers return. Lamb and Hoffman have lost to Johnson and Heidebrecht, plus Topeka West regional winners Chris Humphrey and Chris Roth. Other regional winners were Sam Ritchie and Robbie Wilkins of Kapaun and the team of Aaron Nick and Josh Mettling of Winfield. Smoky Valley to defend In 4A Smoky Valley will be one of the favorites to repeat in Class 4A at Hutchinson after qualifying a full team at the Russell regional. Pratt also is in position to make a run. The Vikings took the top two spots in doubles at regionals with Chad Nelson and Lucas Palmquist beating teammates Jay Barclay and Jason Biegert for the title. Mark Talbott was second to Concordia's Kellen Bombardier in singles while Mike Sandbo finished fourth, falling to Concordia's Brentin Deal in the consolation match. Pratt, which was third at state last year, took first and second in both singles and doubles at its own regional. The No. 1 doubles team of Tommy Brehm and Andy Walker has a head-to-head victory over Nelson and Palmquist. How-' ever, Barclay and Biegert have beaten the Greenbacks' No. 2 duo of Luke George and Brian Harvey. Pratt's Ryan Clark (27-0) topped teammate Marshall Claycamp for the regional title at Pratt and he See TENNIS, Page C3 Irritated Harris says no need to panic Lakers' coach angered by questions about his team's two-game deficit By BOB BAUM The Associated Press INGLEWOOD, Calif. — After a long four days between games, the Western Conference finals finally resume with Game 3 tonight, and it couldn't come too soon for the Los Angeles Lakers. Down 0-2 to the Utah Jazz, the Lakers are under the gun in a town where one day you're a star, the next day you're a has-been. "We've lost two and everybody's ready to fire me again," Lakers' coach Del Harris said Thursday. "What we don't need to do is reinvent a new way to play. There are 27 teams watching us play. We re- ally don't need to be in a panic situation." Over and over again, Harris was asked about the possibility of changing the lineup, specifically by putting Nick Van Exel back at starting point guard. "Why would I change the lineup?" Harris said, obviously irritated. "Why would I put in a new offense? The best thing to do in a pressure situation is do what you know how to do." The biggest need, the Lakers say, is to play better defense against a Jazz team that has dissected Los Angeles with a pick-and-roll de- TODAY Utah at Los Angeles, 9 p.m. (TNT), Utah leads 2-0 SATURDAY Chicago at Indiana, 2:30 p.m. (NBC), Chicago leads 2-0 fense that every L.A. player knows is coming but none can stop. "Right now, what we need most is defense," Kobe Bryant said. "I think everybody on this team feels the same way. When we come out and we're aggressive defensively, that's when we get the easy buckets. Once we get rolling defensively, then we get rolling offensively." That happens more often for the Lakers at home, where they are 4-0 in the playoffs. "For some reason, we're way more aggressive defensively here than we are on the road," Bryant said. The Lakers' Eddie Jones said more pressure would make life tougher for Utah's John Stockton. "Stockton is the creator of that offense," Jones said. "The more you keep the ball out of his hands, the more they struggle. Just try to deny him the ball and press and make him give the ball up."In Utah, the Jazz went through a workout Thursday before flying to Los Angeles. The Jazz are 0-2 in Game 3's so far in these playoffs, losing at Houston in the first round and at San Antonio in the second- Utah coach Jerry Sloan wasn't offering any clues as to why. "I think the more you talk about a thing like that, the less it helps," he said. A little off-the-cuff talking by Karl Malone on a national radio talk show already had stirred up the Utah fans. Malone, appearing with Portland coach Mike Dunleavy, mentioned that he loved the rain and that Oregon was one of his favorite places, that he wouldn't mind playing there. T BASEBALL Cleveland finishes off Royals By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jaret Wright won for the first time in nine starts and Sha- won Dunston hit his first home run for Cleveland as the Indians rolled past Kansas City 6-2 Thursday night, the Royals' sixth straight loss. In losing 16-3, 14-5 and 6-2, the Roy- AL Indians 6 Royals als broke their franchise record for the most runs allowed in a three-game span. While sweeping a three- game series in Kansas City for the first time since June^ 1995, the Indians punished- Royals starters for 23 runs, and got a total of 47 hits. Wright (2-3), who hadn't won since April 1, pitched out of several early jams as the defending AL champions won for the sixth time in seven outings. From the second inning through the seventh, he did not allow a hit but walked four batters and hit two. Wright went 7% innings, his longest outing of the year, and gave up four hits and two runs, both in the eighth. He struck out six. Jose Rosado (0-4), who hasn't won since last August 28, went 4% innings, giving up nine hits and six runs — four earned. His ERA rose from 4.93 to 5.26. Manny Ramirez had an RBI single in the third and Rosado's wild pitch a few minutes later made it 2-0. Dunston hit Rosado's first pitch of the fifth inning over the wall in left field. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT s|bdavld8On@sal)ournal.com

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