The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 17, 2001 · Page 21
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 21

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Salina, Kansas
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Tuesday, April 17, 2001
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Page 21
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TUESDAY APRIL 17, 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL Sports SCOREBOARD / D2 BASEBALL/D3 FOOTBALL / D4 T COMMENT • PRO FOOTBALL MARK ROSNER Cox News Service Preps still pipeline to the NBA Somewhere along the line, the NBA draft became more about speculation than accomplishment. Actually, we know the exact spot: fifth pick, 1995, when Minnesota selected Kevin Garnett, a skinny 6-foot-ll high school forward. Fears that Garnett would require several years of seasoning were unfounded. Within two years, he was becoming one of the best players in the NBA. That opened a path to the league on which high school seniors, as well as college freshmen and sophomores, trample older rookie prospects. Four or five players fresh out of high school might have their name called during the first round of this year's draft on June. 27, at least twice as many as any other year Many complain that this trend has left the college game without recognizable stars and the NBA with too many players who are young and clueless. True enough. But barring them from the NBA would invite lawsuits. So they are here to stay, which makes scouting for the draft more difficult than ever. "The younger the player, the bigger the guess," said Sam Schuler, the San Antonio Spurs' vice president of player personnel. "If you can watch a kid through four years of college, you can pretty accurately predict how he will do in the NBA. On the other hand, there is a fear of the unknown. What if the 18 or 19-year old turns out to be really good?" What if he turns out to be a megastar like Garnett, Kobe Bryant (class of 1996) or Tracy McGrady ('97)? Indiana has three young players who skipped college: Jermaine O'Neal, Al Harrington and Jonathan Bender. Only the youngest, Bender (class of '99) has yet to prove he can play in the NBA. Only one high school senior drafted in the first round since Garnett has failed: Leon Smith, the emotionally troubled Mavericks first-round pick in '99. By the May 13 deadline for early entry to the draft, more than a half dozen high school players might submit their names, some prospective top-10 picks. Mentioned most promi- nantly are Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Kwame Brown and DeSagna Diop, all 6-11 or taller They will fall in line behind Yao Ming, 20, the 7-6 center from China. Whoever selects Ming must understand that Chinese authorities might not allow him to leave next season. Somewhere in the top 10 a team will find an endangered species, the college senior. Duke's Shane Battier is considered talented enough to make the transition from college power forward to NBA small forward. His draft position will be determined by how he measures against Michigan State sophomore Jason Richardson or Seton Hall freshman Eddie Griffin. Then there are the four Arizona players who chose to leave college early Junior forwards Richard Jefferson and Michael Wright have announced themselves ready for the NBA, as have sophomore guards Jason Gardner and Gilbert Arenas. Jefferson might be the only first-round pick among them, although some scouts like Arenas. Slipping from the last pick in the first round to anywhere in the second can be like dropping off a cliff The last man selected in the first round will receive nearly $2 million over three years, regardless of whether he ever plays. Second-rounders receive no guarantees by league rules, only through the generosity of the team that selects them. Chiefs' priority: quarterback While search for Grbac's replacement continues, coaches eager to evaluate By DOUG TUCKER The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Getting ready for the draft wiU be doubly tough on Kansas City this year. At the same time that they're putting hundreds of young players under a microscope, examining each one's individual strengths and flaws, the coaches are also striving to learn their current players. How will they fit into a new system? Plus, and perhaps just as significantly coaches are still getting acquainted with one another. "Any time you change staffs and offense and defense you're going to have problems," ' said Chiefs' president Carl Peterson. Dick Vermeil, who replaced Gunther Cunningham as head coach, intends to open up the offense and switch defenses. So the players on the roster during last year's 7-9 campaign are in some ways as big a mystery as the college seniors who'll be available when the draft starts at 11 a.m. Saturday "The problem is I still haven't been on the field with these players," Vermeil said. It's possible players who did not fare well a year ago will now thrive. "The fact a lot of these players were not as productive in the style of attack that existed here the last few years doesn't mean they can't be productive in the new system," said Lynn Stiles, vice president of football operations. There is one thing that's well known m DRAFT WHEN: 11 a.m., Saturday, April 21, (Rounds 1-3); 10 a.m., Sunday, April 22, (Rounds 4-7). CHIEFS PICKS: Round 1: (12th overall); Round 3: (75th, 77th). Round 4 (107th, 108th); Rounds (141st); Round 6: (176th); Round 7: (212th, 243rd). by everybody in the National Football League — quarterback is the Chiefs' No. 1 priority The unexpected free agent defection of Elvis Grbac and their inability to find a replacement either through free agency or trade has left Kansas City as the only team in the NFL without a starting quarterback. Going into draft week, Todd Collins, who was No. 3 last year behind Grbac and now-retired Warren Moon, is all they have. But figuring Virginia Tech's Michael Vick will be gone before the Chiefs pick No. 12 in the first round, will there be a quarterback good enough to merit such a high choice? "I don't believe there is a 12th pick consideration out there," Stiles said. "There may be some others down the line, whether it will be in the latter part of the first round or the first part of the second." Waiting in the wings could be the much-discussed trade with the St. Louis Rams for veteran Trent Green, a favorite of Vermeil when he was coaching the Rams. But St. Louis, which already has the Chiefs' second-round pick as compensation for hiring Vermeil, has been insisting on Kansas City's first-and third- round picks. "We really haven't talked to them in 34 weeks," said Vermeil. "We both realize it will probably come down to the final few minutes of when we're picking." Whether the two teams work out a deal will probably depend on the Rams' evaluation of the players left after the first 11 picks. "If there's a player on the 12th pick that they really covet, we'll probably hear from them," Peterson said. "We may hear from them before or not. They're doing the same thing we're doing." Health has also emerged as an issue with Green. "My main concern right now is not if Trent Green can play," Vermeil said. "My main concern right now is when he can play." Another need, although the Chiefs insist it's not nearly as glaring as many believe, is running back. BOSTON MARATHON South Korean ends Kenyan streak Lee Bong-ju of South Korea and Catherine Ndereba of Kenya were the men's and women's winners of the 105th Boston Marathon. Both took home the top prize of $80,000 each. Men's top finishers 1. Lee Bong-ju 2:09:43 2. Silvio Guerra 2:10:07 3. Joshua Chelang'a 2:10:29 4. David K. Busienel 2:11:47 5. Mbarek Hussein 2:12:01 6. RodDeHaven 2:12.41 7. Laban Nkete 2:12:44 8. Fedor V. Ryjov 2:13:54 9. Makhosonke Fika 2:14:13 10. Timothy Cherigat 2:14:21 Women's top finishers 1. Catherine Ndereba 2:23:53 2. Malgorzata Sobanska 2:26:42 3. Lyubov Morgunova 2:27:18 4. Lornah Kiplagat 2:27:56 5 Fatuma Roba 2:28:08 6. Irina fimofeyeva 2:28:50 7, Ludmlla Petrova 2:29:23 8.WeiYanan 2:29:52 9. Bruna Genovese 2:30:39 lO.KaorlTanabe 2:31:31 T BASEBALL SOURCE: Boston Athletic Associalion AP Lee Bong-Ju of South Korea raises his arm as he breaks the tape to win the 105th Boston IVIarathon IVIonday. Bong-Ju pulled away to become his country's first champion in 51 years. — AP file photos Kenya's win streak ends South Korean Bong-ju first non-Kenyan to win men's race since '90; American DeHaven sixtli; Ndereba repeats By BERT ROSENTHAL The Associated I'ress BOSTON — A South Korean who nearly quit running after a poor showing at the Sydney Olympics ended Kenya's 10-year winning streak at the Boston Marathon. Lee Bong-ju became his country's first champion in 51 —- years • Salinan Fross Monday competes / Page D3 when h e pulled away in the closing stages to win in 2 hours, 9 minutes, 43 seconds. Kenya still had a winner in the women's race, with Catherine Ndereba victorious for the second straight year. Americans, meanwhile, had one of their best races in several years. Rod DeHaven, the only American to make the men's 2000 U.S. Olympic team last year, placed sixth in a career- best 2:12:41 — the first top 10 finish by a U.S. runner in sev- Catherine Ndereba of Kenya raises her arms as she successfully repeats as women's champion. en years. Josh Cox, at 25 the youngest of the elite Americans, even took the lead briefly at the 12.4-mile mark before fading and finishing 14th. Mark Coogan, a 1996 Olympian, was the third American in the top 20, placing 19th at 2:18:58. Lee's victory was the first by a non-Kenyan since Italy's Gelindo Bordin in 1990 and the first by a Korean since Kee Yong-ham in 1950. Lee won the silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and said he was spurred on by the recent death of his father, Hae-ku. "That was the one thing that pushed me to exert myself more in this competition," the 30-year-old Lee said. He beat runner-up Silvio Guerra (2:10:07) of Ecuador by about 120 yards in the cool, sunny weather. The presence of the highly successful Kenyans didn't bother Lee. "I knew I was alone with many Kenyans," he said, "but the marathon is competing against yourself. I focused on competing against myself and not paying attention to the others." After winning the race every year since 1991 and with the past four winners running Monday, including two-time champion Moses Tanui, the best the Kenyans could do was a third-place by Joshua Chalang'a in his See LEE, Page D3 Royeds escape Twins Royals Twins Dye, Quinn provide pop as Kansas City holds off Minnesota By DAVE CAMPBELL Vie Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS — The Kansas City Royals have gone two straight games without a- major blunder by their bullpen. Still, it was a little too close for manager Tony Muser's comfort. "Do we have to take it?" Muser deadpanned. Roberto Hernandez survived another less-than- perfect ninth inning Monday night as the Royals got two-run homers from Jermaine Dye and Mark Quinn and stopped the Minnesota Twins' six-game winning streak, 5-3. Kansas City, just 4-9 this season, has won three of four against the Twins. Those are the only defeats for Minnesota (9-3), which leads the AL Central by 3 V2 games. Brought in to boost a Royals relief corps that blew 26 saves last year, Hernandez has allowed 13 hits and nine runs in 5 Ml innings and put a runner on base in all six outings. But he managed to earn his third save and second in as many days. "He probably pitched better today than he had all season," Muser said. "He was a little tired, which was probably a good thing, because he didn't try to overthrow it." Hernandez still had the Royals and starter Dan Reichert (11) worrying in the final inning. Doug Mientkiewicz, 2-for-4 with a home run, led off with a single and Cristian Guzman's one-out bloop dropped in for a double to put runners on second and third. But David McCarty, who played for Minnesota from 199395, snagged Denny Hocking's liner with a leaping catch and beat Guzman back to the bag with a quick throw to second. "It was just a bad job of timely hitting," Hocking smirked. "I hit an 8-foot liner at a guy who is 6-foot-5." Hernandez was gracious. "Probably that's the break we needed," he said. Dye homered with two outs in the first against Joe Mays (2-1), driving in Carlos Beltran. After Beltran walked with one out in the third, Quinn hit his sixth home run to make it 4-0 and extend his hitting streak to 12 games. "I thought I threw the ball pretty well," said Mays, who by allowing four runs ended Minnesota's string of six straight quality starts. "I'd throw those pitches (to Dye and Quinn) nine out of 10 times, and I don't think they'll hit it out of the park." SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavidson@saliournal.com

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