Reno forgotten in ESPN’s Rushmore | NevadaAppeal.com

Reno forgotten in ESPN’s Rushmore

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … We understand that this is not news to anyone that lives north of Tonopah. But the rest of the country simply does not understand that Las Vegas is not the only city in the state of Nevada. ESPN has named its Mt. Rushmore of sports for every state and Nevada’s four-headed Hall of Fame has a definite Las Vegas flavor with Andre Agassi, Jerry Tarkanian, Greg Maddux and Mike Tyson. We have no problem with Agassi, Maddux and Tark. But Tyson? From Nevada? Really? The fourth Nevada Mt. Rushmore head should have gone to Greg LeMond, Patty Sheehan, Chris Ault, Marion Motley, Matt Williams, Dave Wyman, Fred Dallimore, Gary Powers, Mills Lane, Chris Vargas, Frank Hawkins, John Dutton, Chris Singleton and Tony Zendejas (or about 50 others) ahead of Tyson. Since Las Vegas is the only city in Nevada, it’s a wonder why ESPN personality and former UNLV backup quarterback Kenny Mayne wasn’t named to the Nevada Mt. Rushmore.

There was a strange, surreal, what-did-he-just-say? aura around coach Mark Fox’s post game press conference after last Friday’s Wolf Pack basketball victory over Virginia Commonwealth, Fox, who turned the team over to assistant coach David Carter after getting ejected in the second half, started his press conference without so much as a question from the media. He told everyone that he intends to remain the head coach at Nevada, that Carter should be the next head coach when he (Fox) does leave and, oh yeah, Carter deserves a raise to stay at Nevada. Very strange. Why would you talk about leaving or not leaving when nobody even asked the question? Why tell everyone in a public setting that your assistant coach should take over the program when you do leave? Did we miss something? Are these issues something we should be thinking about? Well, we are now.

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  Fox also made a point to tell everyone (athletic director Cary Groth was also in the room) that Carter is just one of three (Trent Johnson and Fox are the others) people in the world that know exactly how the program was built. So what? Was there a magic formula that only Johnson, Fox and Carter know about? Is it so complicated that mere mortals can’t possibly figure it out? Talk about bad taste. You don’t publicly ask for a raise for one of your assistants at a time when millions in this nation are losing their jobs. You don’t talk about the day when you leave the program just moments after arguably the biggest win of the year. And you don’t arrogantly tell everyone (Groth, remember, was in the audience) that they have no idea how the program was built so you better give my assistant a raise or hire him as head coach when I leave. Strange. Very strange.

 

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  What is keeping the San Francisco Giants from stealing Manny Ramirez away from the Los Angeles Dodgers? The Giants, who have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, could get to the World Series with Ramirez. How often does a player like Ramirez become available? The Giants in recent years couldn’t wait to sign Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand, two guys that nobody else wanted. And now they don’t want Manny? Who is running that organization? Some out-of-work sports writer? Don’t tell me that Ramirez would be a bad influence in the clubhouse. Have you already forgotten about your last superstar left fielder? And don’t tell me you can’t afford him, not when you sign washed-up free agents like Edgar Renteria, Randy Johnson and Bobby Howry in the off-season. Ramirez would give Giants fans a reason to go back to the ballpark. He’d pay for himself.

 

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  Excited about the NFL draft yet? In case you are wondering, one internet site (nfldraftsite.com) has Wolf Pack wide receiver Marko Mitchell going in the fifth round to Philadelphia and linebacker Josh Mauga going in the sixth round to Green Bay. Me? I’m more concerned about who will be the third starter for Japan in the World Baseball Classic.

 

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  Have you heard? Tiger Woods is back! All is right in the world again! Tiger is back! Hey, can Tiger play left field for the Giants, get the Oakland A’s a new stadium, bring a Stanley Cup to San Jose, get the Wolf Pack football team a BCS bid, David Carter a raise, solve the economic crisis and bring about world peace? Of course he could! He’s Tiger!

 

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  Did you see that half-court shot by Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets last week? If that would have taken place in a NCAA Tournament men’s basketball game, ESPN would have already labeled it The Greatest Shot in the History of Basketball. But since it happened in the NBA by a Nets player, well, it’s about the fifth most important thing to happen this past week after Alex Rodriguez’s spring training homer, the 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine by the 17th-ranked defensive lineman in the draft, the New York Yankees’ question marks at fifth starter and Tiger Woods’ practice round.

 

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  Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks scored 41 points in a game this past week against the Indiana Pacers and high-fived actor Will Ferrell at courtside another 41 times. And, oh yeah, he said “Shake ‘n Bake” in his post-game interview another 41 times. OK, it was a little too much Harlem Globetrotter and not enough serious basketball but don’t tell me that NBA players don’t have passion or have fun on the court. Can you imagine a college coach allowing one of his players to high-five a celebrity sitting at courtside? Can you imagine a college coach allowing one of his players to smile?