by Joe Santoro

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February 28, 2013
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Sports Fodder: Dire times for Pack hoops


Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The Nevada Wolf Pack men's basketball team is circling the drain. Someone has cut the cables on the Wolf Pack elevator and all that's left is the sickening thud.- Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for the Pack, well, they prove us wrong. Again. The 73-47 loss at Boise State on Wednesday leaves us with only one question. Has this team quit on its coach and itself? We'll find out Saturday afternoon when UNLV comes to Lawlor Events Center.

. . .

Is it time to start the clock on coach David Carter's time at Nevada? This is Carter's fourth season as head coach and, barring a Hoosiers' miracle, he is headed toward his second losing season. Pat Foster had four winning seasons in a row and was then dumped after an 8-18 year. Len Stevens had five consecutive winning seasons and was kicked out after a 9-17 season. Sonny Allen went to two NCAA tournaments, had four straight winning seasons and was booted after a 13-15 campaign. Jim Carey had three great years, went 10-19 and was shown the door. How much patience will the new athletic director exhibit with Carter? Does he have to win in 2013-14 to keep his job?

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The Wolf Pack's entire season comes down to Saturday afternoon. If the Pack beats UNLV - it could happen - then all is forgiven. They at least have to show up and compete, which is something- they can't seem to do for two games in a row lately. This isn't the Greg Anthony-Larry Johnson-Stacey Augmon-Anderson Hunt Rebels. It's a good Rebel team but not a great one. They are actually quite mediocre on the road, losing at Fresno, Boise and Air Force. Right now you wouldn't pick the Pack to beat the Hug High girls' freshman team. But nothing about this Pack season makes sense.- A win over UNLV would fit perfectly in this goofy season.

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The Wolf Pack has narrowed its head fundraiser (they insist on calling it "athletic director") search to three candidates: Timothy Leonard of SMU, John Johnson of Washington State and Doug Knuth of Utah. All three have vast experience at raising money which, sad to say, is really the only thing an athletic director needs to do anymore. Leonard sold the naming rights of Central Florida's football stadium for $15 million, Johnson raised money to help build suites and a new press box at Weber State and Knuth helped raise money to expand Spartan Stadium at Michigan State. Get ready for the Raley's-Scolari's-Silver Legacy football stadium on north Virginia Street.

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None of the three candidates, surprisingly, is related to or has ever worked closely with a Polian. None of them ever coach against or played against Chris Ault. It would have been nice to have a Nevada graduate among the finalists but, alas, the years of the Jake Lawlor-Dick Trachok-Ault regime are obviously never returning. But here's the deal on the new A.D. search. Unless you work up on north Virginia Street and nine of every 10 shirts you own has a Wolf Pack logo on it, you could not care less who sits in the athletic director's office. Most fans have just two requests when it comes to the A.D. - don't raise ticket prices and demand that the football coach and men's basketball coach wins a ton of games. Everything else is just paperwork.

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When it comes to buying a new quarterback, the Kansas City Chiefs are like the clueless guy who has gone from owning an Edsel and a Corvair to a Gremlin, Pinto and a Pacer and keeps buying from the same shady used car dealer. Alex Smith will be the fifth former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to head to KC after Steve DeBerg, Joe Montana, Elvis Grbac and Steve Bono. Smith is the kind of quarterback who looks fine sitting on the lot. But once you get him home, the doors fall off and the transmission falls to your garage floor.

. . .

Why is everyone so quick to scoff at the notion that LeBron James might actually be more talented than Michael Jordan, that he might end up being the greatest player in the history of the NBA? We've never seen a talent like James, a guy who could conceivably play all five positions on the floor. James is dominating the league and will likely do so for the next decade. His greatest sin, it seems, is leaving Cleveland. Who wouldn't leave Cleveland? Jim Brown left Cleveland at the height of his athletic prowess just to make bad movies. Yes, we know that Jordan has six rings and James has just one. But give James five more seasons.

Joe Santoro is a freelance writer for the Sierra Nevada Media Group.


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The Record Courier Updated Feb 28, 2013 07:56PM Published Feb 28, 2013 07:55PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.