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Morning Briefing

Rookie Was Barking Up Wrong Tree

December 19, 1987

Darrell Walker of the Washington Bullets, recalling his rookie season out of Arkansas with the New York Knicks, told Anthony Cotton of the Washington Post about his first encounter with Tree Rollins of the Atlanta Hawks.

"I kept driving to the basket against him and he kept blocking it, kept blocking it," Walker said. "One timeout, I walked past him and he said, 'You must not get cable, do you?' I didn't understand what he meant and asked him what he said.

"He said, 'You must not get cable, because if you did, you would have seen me play and you'd know better than to do what you're trying to do.' "

Larry Bird, asked if the rest of the league is catching up to the Boston Celtics and the Lakers, told the Boston Globe: "They've been saying that for the last four or five years, and all I see is us and the Lakers in the finals. They sit around all summer and say they don't fear us. But they're home watching TV, and we're still playing in the spring."

Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls, on Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers: "He's an impossible matchup. You can't put a small guy on him because he's so big, and you can't put a big guy on him because he's so quick."

Trivia Time: Texas El Paso basketball Coach Don Haskins, who recorded his 500th career win Thursday night, coached what school to a National Collegiate Athletic Assn. title? (Answer below.)

From Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith, crediting his improvement to his weighing about 280 pounds after ballooning to 300-plus last year: "I used to to love to go to Burger King at 11 or 12 o'clock at night and eat a couple of Whoppers, a chocolate shake, a couple of large orders of fries, apple pies . . . "

Said Roland Hemond, new general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, after obtaining reliever Doug Sisk: "I guess I just have an affinity for people with 'isk' in their names."

Hemond, when he was with the Chicago White Sox, signed Richie Zisk and Carlton Fisk.

Anyone notice how many former Los Angeles Express players are playing in the National Football League?

Quarterbacks Steve Young (San Francisco), Tom Ramsey (New England) and Frank Seurer (Kansas City) all have started games--Ramsey throwing for 402 yards in one, and Young throwing for four touchdowns Monday night.

Mel Gray (New Orleans) leads the NFL in punt returns, and Jojo Townsell (New York Jets) has the longest return of the season in the American Football Conference at 91 yards.

Kevin Mack (Cleveland) was the leading AFC rusher Sunday at 133 yards, and Tony Boddie is playing for Denver.

Among the offensive linemen who have made it are Gary Zimmerman (Minnesota), Mark Adickes (Kansas City) and Mike Ruether (St. Louis).

Trivia Answer: Texas Western, which later was renamed Texas El Paso. The Miners upset Kentucky, 72-65, to win the NCAA title in 1965-66.

Note: Laker Coach Pat Riley was a guard on the Kentucky team and scored 19 points to share scoring honors for the Wildcats with Louie Dampier.

Quotebook

Boston Red Sox Manager John McNamara, asked what he expects next season of pitcher Bob Stanley: "I don't know. He can throw ground balls, but the ground balls go into holes."

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