Are Babbitt, Johnson nearing end of UNR careers? | NevadaAppeal.com

Are Babbitt, Johnson nearing end of UNR careers?

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Are we witnessing the last few games of the Nevada Wolf Pack careers of Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson? Both Johnson and Babbitt, arguably the two best men’s basketball players ever produced by Northern Nevada high schools, said this week that they will make their NBA decisions after the season. Are either of them ready for the NBA? Of course not. But that didn’t stop JaVale McGee from leaving the Pack as a sophomore after the 2007-08 season. All that matters is whether or not your name gets called in the first round of the NBA draft. Nobody but their closest friends and family members should have the nerve to tell Babbitt and Johnson what to do. All we hope is that Babbitt and Johnson don’t lose sight of the fact that college basketball is going to be the most enjoyable time of their basketball lives. This Pack team is on the verge of becoming special. Next year could be a whole lot of fun, certainly more fun than sitting at the end of Milwaukee Bucks’ bench or playing in Europe or the D-League.

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It now looks like Tiger Woods is going to play in the Masters in early April. So much for putting his personal life ahead of golf. Woods, if he plays in the Masters, never put golf on the back burner. If he comes back in a month it’s obvious the only thing he was ever worried about was his golf career and taking care of his sponsors. Golf and his sponsors are the reasons why he made a public speech a few weeks ago. If Woods was all that serious about repairing his personal life, he would take more than a few months off in the dead of winter. If he plays in the Masters, he really hasn’t given up anything in terms of golf.

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Brittney Griner, a 6-foot-8 women’s basketball player for Baylor, sucker-punched Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle (6-foot-2) with a roundhouse punch to the face this week. Griner, a freshman, should not be allowed to play another game for Baylor this season. If this happened in the NBA, the public would be demanding a 50-game suspension for the bully who threw the punch. Athletes (and coaches) should not be punching each other in college sports. Oregon made the wrong decision by allowing football player LeGarrette Blount back on the field last year after he smacked a Boise State player in the face. Yes, it was just one punch. But go ask Rudy Tomjanovich and Kermit Washington about the damage just one punch can do to your life. Griner is just a freshman. She’ll have plenty more games to play in college and the WNBA. She (and every other college athlete) needs to learn a valuable lesson.

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More than two dozen Maryland fans (OK, odds are not all of them were Maryland fans) were arrested Wednesday night outside the College Park arena for rioting after Maryland’s victory over Duke. Really? For a regular season victory? Terrapin fans stormed the floor after the game as if their heroes had just won a national title and the celebration obviously was carried outside. This wasn’t Villanova over Georgetown, North Carolina State over Houston, Texas Western over Kentucky or even Chaminade over Virginia. This was one big-time school beating another big-time school in a conference game in late February. Relax.

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Chad Ochocinco is going to take part in this season’s Dancing With the Stars. OK, Ochocinco is not a star. And he’s not a dancer. Then again, he’s also not a football player anymore. He’s a look-at-me egomaniac whose only concern is to make sure the cameras are pointed his way. Ochocinco should be worried about participating in the Bengals’ off-season conditioning program this spring. Instead, he’s going to be bouncing around the dance floor with Cheryl Burke. Do you think Jerry Rice would have missed an off-season conditioning program during his career to go dance in a ruffled shirt on national TV. What about Fred Biletnikoff or Raymond Berry? Way to dedicate yourself to your profession, 85.

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Guy Morriss, the head football coach of Division II Texas A&M-Commerce, said he was proud of his team this week after they removed all 2,000 or so copies of the student newspaper from racks around campus. It seems there was a “crap” (Morris’ word, not mine) story in the paper about two football players being arrested on drug charges. There were no comments from Morris about how disappointed he was in the two players who were arrested. Of course not. He was just upset that the school newspaper had the audacity to print the story. Once again, it’s the media’s fault for reporting on the legal troubles of college athletes. Texas A&M-Commerce’s student-athletes, after all, are all good kids. Instead of taking responsibility for what happened, the university scolds the media. It seems we’ve heard this one before.