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Cook expects playing time to increase

By Jeff Mayfield          Send a link to a friend

[AUG. 23, 2004]  I literally ran into Brian Cook twice this week. The big fellow appears to be tired but no worse from the wear and tear after completing his first year of professional basketball. Lots of stuff has happened since his Lakers were unceremoniously bounced from the championship throne by the unheralded Detroit Pistons. However, Cook looks toward his second season in the show with quite a lot of relish.

He did tell LDN correspondent Greg Taylor that the whole Gary Peyton thing, along with all the other shenanigans, has made for a three-ring circus in LA. He appeared to us as one who was glad to be out of that madhouse for at least a few days.

He told me that he was really looking forward to working with new Laker coach Rudy Tomjanovich. Cook reported that Rudy T has been a welcome addition to the Lakers and seemed to indicate to us that he might be a coach much more inclined to use Cook's gifts and skills than Phil Jackson was. Cook explained that Rudy likes to use a lot of pick-and-rolls and pop-outs, which allow a post player to get open for 12-20-foot shots. Cook has always been money in the bank for offenses running that kind of stuff. Since the Lakers have drastically transformed their roster heading into the 2004-5 season, that should also play into Cook's hands. He says that he expects to see his playing time go up to about 20 minutes a game. If he could have a solid year playing that many minutes, I think the nation could learn what we all already know. And that is that this kid is pretty darn good.

Brian was set to leave today and report back to Lakers camp later this week.

Did you happen to catch the U.S. women's volleyball game with Cuba? Vintage stuff. Now we'll see if that kind of performance can inspire the ladies to capture the gold.

Lots of mumbling and grumbling coming out of the gymnastics pit. Why not just let the fans in either the arena or the TV audience score the events? It works for Major League Baseball (fan voting for the All-Star teams); it works for reality TV. Why not for gymnastics?

Yet another reason that I could only handle sports that had a clear winner. Any time there is a LOT of subjectivity in determining the outcome is way too uncomfortable for me. I didn't like my chances to persuade judges to like me for anything or for any reason.

The U.S. women's softball team won the gold, and the soccer ladies get a chance at revenge versus Germany in semifinal soccer action. The U.S. men's hoopsters got back on track beating Angola earlier today, and that should send them to the medal round.

Vic Wuderle, local superstar archer, shot another great match but came up a point short in his quest to medal again in Athens.

 

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Thank you, Walt Jocketty. Know what I mean?

The Cardinals' 82-42 record is their best since 1944. That team was a mind-boggling 91-32 at this point in the season! The last time a Redbirds team was 40 games over .500 was in 1985. That Cardinal team -- which also overachieved, as it was picked for last -- finished the regular season at 101-61. The Cards now have a commanding 14 game lead in the Central Division. The last time St. Louis enjoyed a lead this big was in 1968.

Rick Ankiel continues to impress, now in Tennessee instead of in Florida. I sure hope to see him get called back up to the show on Sept. 1!

The Chicago Cubs have been ordered to fix Wrigley Field if they plan to play baseball there in 2005. Three times this year, chunks of concrete have fallen off the stadium in what may have been shoddy repair work. On a happier note for Cub fans, Chicago STILL appears to be the odds-on choice to take the wild card flag. It is doubtful that the SF Giants can continue their hot play.

The Chicago Bears won again, this time by a score of 20-13 over San Francisco. However, I watched some of the game, and it is really hard to assess either team. It made me realize that scouts are underrated; I don't know how they do it.

The Lincoln Railers football schedule has been released. The Railers, under the inspiring command of John Oaks, open the season at home against the always tough Mount Zion squad. Five of Lincoln's nine games will be played at home, where they will have to make hay in order to even dream of making the playoffs. Other home tilts will be against Lanphier, Jacksonville, Southeast (homecoming on Oct. 8) and East Peoria. Lincoln will take the road versus Springfield, Sacred Heart-Griffin, Taylorville and Chatham-Glenwood.

The Lady Railer volleyball squad will open the 2004 season at home versus Peoria Richwoods on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m.

There's lots of other stuff happening, but that's it for me. Have a great week, everybody!

[Jeff Mayfield]

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