Football or Basketball?
Georgia split end Fred Gibson burst upon the scene in the fourth game against Tennessee. He burned the Volunteers for a pair of catches totaling 70 yards and a touchdown. He would wind up the season with 33 receptions for 772 yards and 6 touchdowns. As soon as the football season was over, though, Gibson turned his attention to the basketball court. “I had an agreement with Coach Richt and Coach (Jim) Harrick (UGA basketball coach),” said Gibson. He ended up making timely contributions in the 18 games he played with the basketball Bulldogs, averaging 4.9 points and 1.1 rebounds. I asked Gibson which sport he would choose if he had to make a choice to play professionally and he told me, “People might think I’m crazy. I love basketball. Basketball is my first love. Football is just something I do.”
A lot will be expected of the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2002 season. A lot of talented players with experience returned to Athens. Bulldog running back Musa Smith was looking forward having a big year when the Fall practices began. After all, he would be running behind a big, strong, veteran offensive line, “They’ve been through it all. They know what it’s like in the trenches. They know all the situations. We’re fully loaded and the defenses should be scared!”
Memories are Made of This!
Freshman running back Michael Cooper is trying to make his mark at the University of Georgia. Last season Cooper set records with 2,352 yards rushing, while scoring 38 touchdowns at Screven County High School. Among the honors that were bestowed upon him, Cooper was named the WTOC Offensive Player of the Year. Before the Fall practices began in Athens this season, I asked Cooper what were his fondest memories of last season? A game? A touchdown? No, he had another memory, “Going to practice. Just listening to the fellows with their stories, their jokes, just bonding with them. That’s a memory you can’t forget.”Simple logic!
Atlanta Braves first Baseman Julio Franco had struggled with the bat all season long. He was inserted into a game on May 19th as manager Bobby Cox made a double switch in changing pitchers against the Colorado Rockies with the score tied 1-1. A short time later when the Braves were hitting, Franco led off the inning with his first homer of the season... driving in his first run of the season. “Why complicate a game that is so simple,” said Franco. “When it comes time to look fastball, look fastball and no further.”
Age is a State of Mind!
On July 23rd, the Atlanta Braves were in Florida to battle the Marlins. During the Bobby Cox Show on the Braves Radio Network, announcer Skip Carey told Cox he looked as if he had gotten a little sun that day. Cox told him that the team had taken a little extra batting practice that afternoon. While out there... a football appeared on the field. Infielder Mark DeRosa had been a quarterback at the University of Pennsylvania and Chipper Jones was a wide receiver in high school. Of course, a little game began. Cox said, “I told them I was all-state in 1958 and they didn’t give a crap.” Carey came back with, “Yes, but there were only about 14 states when you were in high school.”
I’m Just That Good!
There has been a lot of talk in recent months about what steroids may be doing to help athletes, especially in baseball. Home run records are being shattered. One of the focal points of the controversy is Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants. He had never hit 50 homers in a season until 2001 when he blasted a record 73 dingers. On the HBO program, On the Record with Bob Costas, Bonds was asked if he’d use steroids, to which he replied, “No, I don’t have to. I’m a good enough ballplayer as it is. I don’t need to be any better.”
You Gotta Believe!
Back in May when Bob Estes was still pitching for the New York Mets, he lost a no-hit bid in the seventh inning. Two innings before, against all baseball tradition of not mentioning a no-hitter, the possible feat was alluded to on the giant message board at Shea Stadium. Mets’ Manager Bobby Valentine was asked if that had jinxed Estes, “I don’t believe in superstitions. They’re bad luck.”
Never Say Never!
Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors is one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA. There are often rumors that the Raptors will trade Carter either to save money or to get more players in return. Glen Grunwald denies any intention of letting Carter go to another team, “I’m not trading Vince Carter. That is, unless he suffers a career-ending injury. Then he might be available.
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