PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

February 18, 2012

Super Bill Bradley is about to join LU football staff

PORT ARTHUR — Although he won’t confirm or deny it, my sources say Lamar football coach Ray Woodard is  about to drop a coaching bombshell of sorts by adding one of legendary figures of Texas football to his staff. Expect Woodard to announce sometime in the next week or so that Bill Bradley, aka Super Bill Bradley of University of Texas lore, is coming to Lamar as a defensive assistant. Bradley went to UT out of Palestine High School in 1965 as one of the nation’s most highly recruited QBs, eventually got bumped to defensive back by James Street, was part of UT’s 1968 national champions and became a two-time All-Pro DB with the Philadelphia Eagles. His coaching career has included stints as a defensive backs coach with Buffalo, the NY Jets and San Diego Chargers in the NFL, and as defensive coordinator at Baylor from 2004 through 2006. Hiring Bradley will be a huge deal for Woodard and Lamar . . . Jamaal Charles, back home for his stint as Grand Marshall of Port Arthur’s Mardi Gras parade, says he close to being 100 percent after undergoing knee surgery last fall, expects to participate in the Kansas City’s April OTAs on a limited basis and is confident he’ll be full speed when training camp opens in August. Charles said his weight dipped as low as 175 pounds after the surgery but that he’s now back up to his playing weight of 202. One of the things he was looking forward to doing while home was passing along face-to-face congratulations to Memorial QB Terrence Singleton over winning the Willie Ray Smith Offensive Player of the Year Award. He said he’d already tweeted Singleton about joining him as the only Memorial winner of the prestigious award. Jamaal also asked me to pass along to those who organize the Smith Awards that he’d love to be their guest speaker at some point. It’s been done and they are excited about the possibility.

My first thought after watching Texas-Arlington roll over Lamar 91-82 at the Montagne Center on Jan. 14 was that the Mavs were the best Southland Conference team I’d seen in years. Nothing that’s happened since has changed the notion. UTA, prior to Saturday night’s big-time Bracketbuster test at 20-4 Big Sky Conference leader Weber State, was 12-0 in the SLC and its school record 16-game winning streak was the second longest in the nation next to Kentucky’s 18. The local interest on this story is the solid job Memorial ex Shaq White-Miller is doing at point guard for the Mavs . . . Props are in order for another Memorial ex doing very well in college basketball. Texas’ J’Covan Brown is not only leading the Big 12 Conference in scoring, but even more impressive is this past week’s announcement that he’s made the academic All-Big 12 team for a second consecutive year. Criteria for being named academic All Big 12 is to have played in 60 percent of your team’s games while maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.20 . . . Lamar basketball fans need to get busy if they are going to help Mike James advance to the Final Four of the NCAA’s “Dark Horse Dunker” competition. James, after winning his opening matchup with 53 percent of the online vote, is seriously trailing James Justice from tiny Martin Methodist College. Voting on this round ends Monday. Maybe the Methodists have united behind Justice but it’s going to be pretty sad if James can’t muster better support from Cardinal nation. You can vote at www.facebook.com/college slam.  

Speaking of dunk-offs, the Houston Rockets Chase Budinger is about to go where few white players have dared to tread — the NBA’s All-Star Game slam dunk contest next weekend. Budinger is the first white player invited to participate since Chris Anderson in 2005. In the history of the contest, there’s only been one white player — Brent Barry in 1996 — who won. Budinger will also be only the fourth Rocket to participate. The others were Ralph Sampson, Kenny Smith and Steve Francis . . . My vote for the most brain dead, racist comment of the year goes to WBC Welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather. Amidst all the hype and deserved praise being showered on Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks’ Asian-American standout who has taken the NBA by storm the past two weeks, Mayweather was not impressed. He said on Twitter that Lin is just doing what plenty of black players do but is getting more attention because of his Asian heritage. You are an idiot, Floyd. How do you rationalize the fact that Lin scored more points in his first five starts than any player since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976? ? ? That doesn’t appear to be something being done on a day-in, day-out basis. Lin’s out-of-nowhere rise to stardom has sent many in the sports media scrambling for a comparable feel-good story of such stunning success. My two would be southpaw pitcher Fernando Valenzuela’s rookie season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kurt Warner’s meteoric rise to a Super Bowl winning quarterback with the St. Louis Rams. I can’t imagine anybody ever topping what Warner accomplished as a guy out of Northern Iowa that not a single NFL scout thought could play at the highest level. Lin, meanwhile, still has to be a difference maker over an extended period to avoid dropping back to flash-in-the-pan status. His biggest obstacle to that may be teammate Carmelo Anthony.

The Houston Texans will be celebrating the franchise’s 10th anniversary throughout the 2012 season and the timing couldn’t be better since they are considered a legitimate Super Bowl threat. Truth is, if it wasn’t for last season the Texans wouldn’t have much in the way of positive accomplishments to celebrate. Amazingly, the franchise’s No. 1 highlight remains its very first game when the Texans thoroughly embarrassed Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, 19-10. Houston should honor Jethro at some point for being foolish enough to trade up and draft Quincy Carter two to three rounds higher than anybody else would have taken him. Without Carter at QB, the Texans never could have beaten the Cowboys. In that fateful game against an expansion-team defense, Carter completed 13-of-30 passes for 131 yards, with one interception  . . . Long-time Houston TV sports anchor Bob Allen triggered wild talk show debates last week by going on air to say he had a trusted source who said Peyton Manning is interested in playing for the Texans in 2012. The story makes sense on several levels. Manning, if he leaves Indianapolis as it appears he will, wants to hook up with a team that gives him a good shot at winning another Super Bowl. He has always played home games in domed stadiums and probably would like to stay in a climate controlled environment. Playing in Houston would keep him in an AFC South that doesn’t look all that tough. My most trusted source close to the Texans, however, says don’t give the idea a second thought, that Manning won’t be coming to Houston . . . Las Vegas’ take on where Manning winds up has the best odds (17 percent) of him going to the Miami Dolphins. Next best odds are that he doesn’t play at all (15 percent — a $100 bet pays $300). After that, it’s Colts and Arizona Cardinals at 10 percent, the NY Jets at 9 percent and Seattle at 5.5 percent. Interestingly enough, the odds on Manning in Houston have taken the biggest drop; from 75-1 to 20-1.

As was predicted in this space shortly after TJ ex Craig Stump left West Brook to take the head football job at Atascocita, there has been little interest from successful head coaches at the higher levels in replacing him. The BISD almost certainly will have to wind up hiring an unproven assistant coach, a fact which should be stunning given that West Brook is a 5A school that was a playoff regular under Stump. Smart coaches know, though, it’s really going to be tough to win going forward at West Brook. Right or wrong, there’s a perception that folks with clout are sick of West Brook whipping up on Ozen and Central and want a change . . . Here’s how ridiculous all the conference shuffling in big time college sports has become. The University of Houston is moving into a Big East that will have 12 teams located in four different time zones. Crosstown rival Rice is going the Cougars one better, by playing in a merged Mountain West/Conference USA that will have a minimum of 16 teams that span five time zones. ESPN should be proud of the havoc its money has helped to wreak . . . Hope nobody was shocked with the news this week that four TCU football players were part of a major on-campus marijuana bust. I’d only be shocked to learn there’s a school in Division 1 where marijuana isn’t a factor. We know for sure that isn’t the case with Lamar University’s basketball team. The NCAA recently released results of a 2009 survey that had 22.6 percent of all student-athletes admitting to marijuana use. In major college football, the numbers were 26.7 percent for football players and 22 percent for men’s basketball players.

Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at rdwest@usa.net

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