KJís BB Newsletter                          February 4, 2001  

A GOOD WEEK

Notwithstanding the bad news about Luke Reckerís knee, basketball news this week was pretty good overall, from my standpoint at least.

On Wednesday, I took in the Drake-Evansville game at the Knapp Center.  After an initial flurry by the Purple Aces, Drake took charge and ran to victory.  It was just what I needed to cure the mid-winter blues that usually creep up on me in early February.  The Bulldogs looked good and Andre Sola, who transferred to Drake from George Washington, looked like a MVC all-star.  Unfortunately, they didnít keep up the good work on Saturday night against Bradley, where they absorbed a tough 62-47 loss on their home court.  Hopefully, the Dogs will finally win one on the road this Wednesday when they travel to Creighton.

The next night I tuned in the Duke-North Carolina game which was played at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Of course, everyone expected the No. 2 Blue Devils to win at home.  I was pulling for the Tarheels, mainly because their coach Matt Doherty was an assistant under Roy Williams at KU for seven years.  And, wonder of wonders, the Carolina Blue ended up winning, helped by a refís appropriate call that normally wouldnít be called against a home team in the waning seconds.  Itís good to occasionally see referees that have some guts.

Then on Saturday, I didnít even work up a sweat during KUís relatively easy win over Texas.  Except for the last six minutes of the first half, when the Hawks let the Longhorns creep to within two, KU made this one look like a light workout.  Thereís an ominous cloud on the horizon, though, as dangerous Iowa State comes to Allen Fieldhouse Monday night for a game televised on ESPN featuring the two league leading teams.  Their followup match will be held in Ames on the 17th.

Back to Recker.  The broken kneecap looks to keep him off the floor through the end of the regular season, if not beyond.  Itís really a shame.  Reckerís already had enough bad luck to last a career, and Iowa will greatly miss him during their run down the stretch.  He has carried the Hawkeyes to a three-way tie for the league lead.  Hopefully, though, Iowa can follow Drakeís lead in overcoming the loss of key players.  The only good news in all this is that the Hawks have had a week off to make the necessary adjustment.  They next play the OSU Buckeyes in Iowa City Wednesday night.

PRO REPORT

Since Rick Pitino left the Boston Celtics, former KU star Paul Pierce has led the team to an 8-4 record.  On Friday night he scored 40 points.

It was good to see former Cyclone Marcus Fizer finally round into form, scoring a NBA career-high 26 points for the Bulls Saturday night.  Heís had a tough year, struggling to achieve the high expectations resulting from his All-American year.  Through 39 games, Fizer is averaging 7 points and 4 rebounds.  Former Clone Fred Hoiberg is getting some quality time for the Bulls, particularly at crunch time toward the end of games, scoring an average of 7.2, with 3.5 rebounds.

Raef LaFrentz, former Jayhawk from Monona, IA, has led the Denver Nuggets to a 27-21 record, scoring 12.1 ppg and grabbing an average of 7.3 rebounds.