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Raveling Sees Problems, Looks for Some Answers

May 28, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

George Raveling is worried about his favorite sport. . . .

"Basketball at the pro, college and high school level is facing its greatest challenge," said Raveling, the former USC coach who triples as a CBS and Prime Sports commentator, president of the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches and director of camps and summer programs for Nike. . . .

"We need to find a common road that players, administrators and fans can travel with the destination being a better and more exciting brand of basketball," Raveling said. "Right now, the game is headed in the wrong direction." . . .

What concerns Raveling most is the enormous number of college undergraduates-- and even a couple of high school graduates--who have filed for the NBA draft this year. . . .

"The NBA is becoming a developmental league, but what is it developing?" he said. "It is difficult to develop talent when there is so little time for personal instruction and attention during the season." . . .

"We need to create a rational system that will make young people want to complete their education and play four years in college," he said. "The system is almost forcing them to leave early. At this rate, a lot of talented kids won't be interested in graduating from high school, let alone college.". . .

Raveling believes that a summit meeting of key NBA, college and high school administrators is vital. . . .

"We've got to create some economic relief for the student athlete," he said. "Things such as insurance, stipends, opportunities to work during the school year and borrow money against future employment, and scholarships that cover the true costs of a college education." . . .

"If we can bring the right parties to the discussion table, we'll have a chance to come up with some solutions," he said. . . .

Raveling, who still lives in Ladera Heights, says he is fit after being badly injured in an automobile accident on Sept. 26, 1994. "I'm not sure how I ever made it back," he said. . . .

Raveling's son Mark recently graduated from USC with a degree in sociology and will assist his father in the operation of the Michael Jordan Flight School basketball camp Aug. 1-5 and Aug. 6-10 at UC Santa Barbara. . . .

The Chicago Bulls should win the NBA finals in a maximum of five games. . . .

If Rick Pitino takes over the New Jersey Nets, he might select one of his Kentucky players, forward Antoine Walker, with the eighth pick in the draft. . . .

*

New Mexico State defensive end Sam Manuel and tight end Sean Manuel, both chosen on the last round by the San Francisco 49ers, were the first twins picked in the NFL draft by the same team since Marlin and Mike McKeever by the Los Angeles Rams in 1961. . . .

Sam Manuel, the 254th and last player drafted, will be honored during the Irrelevant Week celebration June 23-29 in Newport Beach. . . .

Todd Christensen has re-surfaced as a commentator for Arena Football games on ESPN2. . . .

Look-a-likes: Mickey Tettleton and Rusty Greer of the Texas Rangers. . . .

The Angels aren't the first local baseball team to employ cheerleaders. The recent Pacific Coast League exhibit at the Gene Autry Museum displayed photographs of Hollywood Stars cheerleaders in the 1950s. . . .

Alex Rodriguez, the hot-hitting Seattle Mariner shortstop, won't be 21 until July 27. . . .

Unbeaten super-bantamweight Marco Antonio Barrera's next fight might be on CBS in July. . . .

Maybe the surprise isn't that the Florida Panthers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins in their NHL Eastern Conference championship series, but that the Penguins are tied with the Panthers, even though Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr have scored only one goal apiece. . . .

Nothing in the French Open men's competition would attract nearly the interest of a Steffi Graf-Monica Seles women's final. . . .

Colorado football Coach Rick Neuheisel was a member of the pit crew for the 17th place finisher at Indianapolis, Buzz Calkins of Denver. . . .

On the day of the Indy 500 and the U.S. 500, the longest automobile race in the country was the Coca-Cola 600 for stock cars. . . .

During an eight-day span, UCLA finished second in the nation in men's tennis, tied for third in women's tennis and softball, fourth in women's golf and reached a regional final in baseball. . . .

But who thought the state of California would be without a representative in the College World Series for the first time since 1981? . . .

Thumbs up to the Angels for solving the Lee Smith dilemma, even though they didn't get much in return for him.

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