written by perhaps one of our area's finest sportswriters, Mark
Tupper, is a quick, enjoyable read. With this scholastic series of
books, they appear to be geared for younger readers, but young and
old alike will enjoy this trip down the Illini and Railer memory
lane! There are also some nice photos from Brian's early years that
you won't want to miss.
Don't worry if you
had to miss this extravaganza. The LDN will keep you posted on where
you can buy your copies in the future and when the next book
signing(s) will be. We've already been told that Cook will be in
town for the Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival and that books will be
available for purchase as he signs them for you!
What a week it's
been! Don't forget to tune your stations to CITV-5 tonight at 6 as
the unflappable sports crew will bring you the sights and sounds of
all these events. We think you will especially enjoy interviews with
former coaches like Rob Judson and Neil Alexander. The author of the
book, Decatur Herald-Review's Mark Tupper, also has some interesting
comments that you won't want to miss. Other moments were captured
with his family, former teammates and friends in a celebration that
seemingly has touched the entire county.
Cook is to fly out to
California this week to be introduced to the media. There has also
been some speculation that at some point he will participate in some
kind of a pre-preseason minicamp. The Lakers plan to do some team
rebuilding through free agency over the next few weeks, so it could
be interesting to see what kind of a team Brian will eventually be
paired with. Coach Judson was kidding me about starting a fund to go
to Hawaii. I think he meant to follow his Northern Illinois Huskies,
who are scheduled to play in a tournament there this season. But, he
might have been referring to the Lakers' first two preseason games,
scheduled for Hawaii on Oct. 7-8. You don't think my wife is
planning to surprise me by taking me there for our anniversary, do
It's hard for me to
believe that there are 10 or so better international players in the
world than Brian Cook. Who did these evaluations? Could ANY of them
play in the rugged Big Ten? I've seen some of them come and go, and
some of them are pretty good… but, BETTER than Cook? I don't think
I'm not so sure that
ANY of the players selected before Brian are better. More hyped
maybe! If you watch basketball much, you realize it is a game of
spurts, trends and momentum shifts. Few are good night in, night
out. Now guys like James and Anthony will be playing for inferior
teams, so they're likely to get more PT and more stats, but will
they be better than Cook? I think the jury is still out on that one.
I can tell you this: If they don't guard Brian, he will make them
pay! Good shooting overcomes a multitude of sins. It doesn't hurt
that Brian is already one of the best free-throw shooters in the
game either. I guess I'm going to have to become a fan of the NBA
again and obviously a fan of the Lakers.
[to top of second column in this
This whole experience
reminds me of when I was a kid. I used to go to the Cow Palace to
watch my beloved Golden State Warriors (can you believe those jokers
passed on Cook -- wait 'til I see that front office crew). They had
the best offensive player in the league in Rick Barry but couldn't
get over the hump. Then came the smooth rookie out of UCLA, Keith
Wilkes. You may remember him as Jamal "Silk" Wilkes of LA Laker fame
(do you see where I'm going with this?).
But before he helped
the Lakers win some titles, he had work to do with my Warriors. In
1975, he and Barry and a band of some of the most forgettable
players in NBA history shocked the globe by winning the world
championship. It was against the best team at that time, the
Baltimore (Washington) Bullets. So good were the Bullets that
virtually every NBA expert not only picked the Bullets to win but to
win it in four.
The experts were
right about one thing. There was a sweep. But the party in the San
Francisco Bay area is still going on to this day (probably the
reason Golden State seems to have made no progress since then)! The
experts thought that a rookie like Wilkes wouldn't be enough to help
Barry get his title. They couldn't have been more wrong. Wilkes,
Barry and their band of merry men gave me a memory that I will never
forget! Could Cook coupled with Shaq and Kobe bring us another
memory? I wouldn't bet against them!
actually looked like an awake, alert team this weekend, taking two
of three from the surprisingly good Kansas City Royals. With as many
injuries as they have had, I just didn't think they'd make it to
first place before the All-Star break. I have to give Tony LaRussa
kudos here. I question him at times, so it's only fair to praise him
when he does well. This is one of those times. I don't even know how
he makes out a lineup card. The St. Louis writers tell us that even
the players who are starting are day-to-day; but as Keith Obberman
used to remind us, aren't we all?! The Redbirds do enter one of
their toughest stretches of the schedule over the next three weeks,
so we'll see how long they can last at the top. If they don't get
some of their ailing players back, I fear that they will run out of
gas way too soon!
The Cubs have had a
tough stretch, especially with the White Sox, but Kerry Wood slammed
the door on the pale hose yesterday in what I believe was a HUGE
game for the Cubbies. Lose that one, and you limp out of town just
totally bewildered. Win it, coupled with the fact that the rest of
the division seems to be lost in space somewhere, and you stay in
the thick of the race. Chicago's starting pitching is still better
than anyone else's in the division!
And what's become of
the Jerry Manuel death watch? I guess those guys on "FANdamonium"
aren't as dumb as you thought?!
baseball team recorded its first win of the year with a 5-2 victory
over Morton. We'll bring you more on them over the coming weeks.
That's it for now. Have a great week,