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Cook gets his due     Send a link to a friend

By Jeff Mayfield

[FEB. 16, 2004]  Before last Friday night's contest with Southeast High, Brian Cook's No. 34 LCHS basketball jersey was retired. Cook, who was back in Lincoln while the NBA celebrates its annual all-star weekend, was humble as always. He thought it was a nice event, but he took it in stride.

As we interviewed Cook for an upcoming "FANdamonium" special, he just seems to be maturing and coming into his own. He and Melissa both seem to be doing well and are both enjoying the Southern California weather. Brian said he is happy to live near the marina because he can fish right off the docks.

Cook says the players have pretty much welcomed him into the Laker family, but the practices are still pretty hard. That's nothing compared to the road trips. He said they were brutal, oftentimes making players wonder where they even are.

For those keeping up with the Bryant saga, Cook says Kobe is doing all right so far.

Cook says he spends most of his time hanging out with former Missouri star Kareem Rush and former Arizona star Luke Walton.

A huge crowd was on hand for the jersey retirement, and Cook received several standing ovations. He briefly spoke to the crowd, mostly to thank them for their years of support. In typical Cook fashion, he stayed around an hour or two longer than he needed to, to make sure that every little kid who wanted an autograph or picture got one.

The LDN salutes this gentle giant and hopes for an NBA championship in Brian's immediate future.

Railers alone at the top

After a harrowing victory at home Friday night over CS8 nemesis Southeast, the Lincoln Railers find themselves alone in first place. That's because while Lincoln was mustering up a win in Roy S. Anderson gymnasium, Lanphier continued its amazing run by beating Jacksonville.

Now comes the hard part for the Railers. This week they will play two difficult games on the road. Tuesday they will visit SH-G, and then on Friday they go to do battle with Springfield High. A split would almost assure them of a share of the league crown, as you always hope that the Railers will defend the home court. However, if Lincoln has any designs on winning the conference crown outright, they must win both of these ballgames. If Mike Shannon were here, he'd probably say that ol' Abner has done it again!

Lady Railers

Speaking of Railers, let's get ready to support this fantastic group of Lady Railers as they prepare for regionals. The girls capped off a fantastic regular season with a very physical and hard-fought win over Southeast last Thursday night. In fact, the Lady Railers start postseason play tonight as the No. 7 seed and will take on No. 12 seed Bradley-Bourbonnais at 8 p.m. at Normal Community High.

Good luck, Lady Railers, as we're all pulling for a long playoff run!


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NBA All-Star weekend

While Cook was basking in the Illinois weather, his NBA colleagues were whooping and hooping it up on Brian's new home court, the Staples Center. This time there were no clothing malfunctions but some pretty good basketball. Cook must be working the Lakers pretty hard in practice because it led to his teammate Shaquille O'Neal winning the MVP award as the West beat the East 136-132 in a very entertaining basketball game.

Daytona 500

It was a beautiful day in Daytona, Fla., yesterday. Especially if you are a fan of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won his first Daytona 500 six years to the day his father accomplished the feat. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and a host of others battled all day in a very entertaining race.

Other stuff

North Carolina State shocked Duke last night 78-74.

John Daly won a PGA Tour event for the first time in nine years as he claimed the Buick Open by pulling off an incredible bunker shot on the first playoff hole!

Professional hockey is coming to Bloomington! At least, that's according to a front page story in today's Pantagraph. A team that will be moving here from California is scheduled to open play in the city's new arena for the 2005-2006 season!

LCC's men split on the weekend and are now 16-13.

While the Angels blasted Emmaus on Saturday.

No LC report available.

LCC's men's basketball team plays its FINAL home game of the season tonight against St. Louis. A hearty invitation to all area fans is being extended. Just tell the ticket takers that Greg Taylor sent you andů (you'll still have to pay, but they should let you in).

Have a great week, everybody!

[Jeff Mayfield]

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