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JERRY CROWE

Text messages from press row ...

December 13, 2007|JERRY CROWE

For a guy from Hicksville, maybe Mitch Kupchak isn't the brain-dead numskull that some Lakers fans have made him out to be. . . .

The Lakers general manager -- birthplace: Hicksville, N.Y. -- deserves credit for rolling the dice by drafting 17-year-old Andrew Bynum two years ago and then resisting the urge to trade him before he reached his potential. . . .

BTW, although Bynum already is nearly a quarter of the way through his third NBA season, only five NBA players are younger than the Lakers center, who won't be of age to legally buy brandy for his eggnog until October. . . .

In addition to Bynum's teammate, rookie Javaris Crittenton, the younger-than-Bynum club includes rookies Kevin Durant of the Seattle SuperSonics, Spencer Hawes of the Sacramento Kings and Thaddeus Young of the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as sidelined No. 1 pick Greg Oden of the Portland Trail Blazers. . . .

Chinese rookie Yi Jianlian of the Milwaukee Bucks was born the same day as Bynum, Oct. 27, 1987. . . .

Bruce Bowen, the 36-year-old former Cal State Fullerton forward who will line up against Kobe Bryant when the defending champion San Antonio Spurs play the Lakers tonight at Staples Center, is the NBA's oldest starter. . . .

Shaquille O'Neal, 35, is the NBA's second-oldest starter. . . .

NBA scoring leader LeBron James makes a pretty decent sixth man. . . .

Obviously in need of all the help they can get, the New England Patriots own the San Francisco 49ers' No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, which could be one of the top two or three picks with the 49ers at 3-10 and free falling through the standings. . . .

Tom Brady and the Patriots could very well win the Super Bowl, go unbeaten and then add Darren McFadden to their backfield in April. . . .

The Patriots actually got two picks from the 49ers -- the 110th pick in last April's draft, plus the 49ers' top pick in 2008 -- in exchange for the 28th pick in 2007, which the 49ers used to take Central Michigan offensive tackle Joe Staley. . . .

New England lost its own 2008 first-round pick in the Spygate ruling. . . .

For $9 million, apparently, Jeff Kent is willing to put up with bratty youngsters in the clubhouse for one more season. . . .

Who would have ever guessed? . . .

Kyle Long, a high school offensive lineman and son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, was recruited by USC Coach Pete Carroll but picked Florida State over the Trojans, as well as opting for baseball over football. . . .

He's a 6-foot-7, 280-pound left-hander. . . .

Will anyone be foolish enough to rush the mound against him? . . .

USC, which won its first NCAA women's soccer championship Sunday when Marihelen Tomer and Janessa Currier scored goals and goalkeeper Kristin Olsen shut out Florida State, is the first school to have teams reach the NCAA championship game in men's water polo and women's soccer, the NCAA Final Four in women's volleyball and a BCS bowl game in the same calendar year. . . .

Former USC offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame last summer, was in attendance at College Station, Texas, to cheer on the Trojans soccer team last weekend. . . .

His niece, Ashley Nick, is an All-Pacific 10 Conference midfielder. . . .

Since 1996, the only PGA Tour players of the year not named Tiger Woods were Mark O'Meara in 1998 and Vijay Singh in 2004. . . .

Tom Watson won the award six times, Jack Nicklaus five. . . .

Woods, who turns 32 on Dec. 30, is a nine-time winner. . . .

Pepperdine freshman Mychel Thompson, a 6-7 forward and son of Lakers radio analyst Mychal Thompson, has made 40% of his three-point shots and connected on at least one three-pointer in each of the Waves' 11 games. . . .

His father made one three-point shot in 12 NBA seasons. . . .

And, yes, father and son spell their names differently. . . .

Longtime Southland promoter Al Franken notes that he was the late Evel Knievel's publicist when the then-fledgling daredevil jumped over 16 cars on his motorcycle at Ascot Park raceway in Gardena in 1967. . . .

Franken says he declined a chance to help promote a national tour for Knievel, reasoning that Knievel was such a great showman that he didn't need the help and that the risk-taker probably wouldn't last long in that line of work. . . .

The oft-injured Knievel was 69 when he died Nov. 30.

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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