Wizards

Caroms, quirks and odd bounces in sports in 2012

201212241054392666127-p2.jpeg

Caroms, quirks and odd bounces in sports in 2012

Maybe if they were 22 years old - throwing down drinks in a bar and their faces painted in school colors - this would make sense.

But they were far from 22 and their complexions had long lost the glow of youth. And, most assuredly, they were not in a bar.

They were two basketball fans, both past the age of Medicare eligibility, and they took their game seriously. They also happened to be patients in a dialysis clinic in Georgetown, Ky.

According to authorities, the confrontation came five days before Kentucky played Louisville in the NCAA semifinals. Wildcats vs. Cardinals can make for dicey conversation and the men began exchanging words.

Dialysis assists kidney function, keeping the body chemically balanced by removing salt, waste and excess water. In this case, however, not much was done to contain the buildup of bile.

The 68-year-old Kentucky fan receiving treatment extended a finger to the Louisville fan, and it was not to signify that the Wildcats were No. 1. The 71-year-old Louisville fan responded by punching him in the face.

Police were summoned to the clinic. The Kentucky fan chose to not press charges.

His pain and blood pressure perhaps eased by the weekend: Kentucky beat Louisville 69-61 and went on to win the national title.

Dialysis units were not the only odd spots where sports traveled in 2012: Two sumo wrestlers - one 6-foot-8 and 625 pounds - were cast in a Canadian opera production of ``Semele''; Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas became home to a Victoria's Secret outlet; Lance Armstrong was stripped not only his seven Tour de France titles but of his 2006 honorary degree from Tufts University; and one-time NFL star Chad Ochocinco and House Speaker John Boehner wound up Twitter buddies.

Great heft was not limited to opera. At the London Olympics, judo fighter Ricardo Blas entered the 220-pound-and-over division at 480 pounds, nearly double that of most competitors. It was noted that Blas - the heaviest man at these Olympics - weighed more than the entire Japanese women's gymnastics team.

The London Games also brought an outpouring of joy from the mother of Thailand's Pimsiri Sirikaew, a weightlifting silver medalist. A bacchanalian romp, however, was not in Amornat Sirikaew's plans. She told Thai media she would mark her daughter's triumph by joining a monastery.

Looking to get in on the Olympic fun was a New Zealand farm group that wants sheep shearing as an Olympic sport. It was not immediately clear if winners would forgo gold medals for cashmere sweaters.

Other countries, with seemingly more urgent needs, went in strange directions. Haiti, the Palestinian territories, Togo and Eritrea joined the International Ski Federation, a step that did not exactly strike fear into the Swiss and Austrians. Turkmenistan, where scorching heat can reach 120 degrees, was ordered by presidential decree to create an ice hockey league.

Politics and sports invariably find themselves as tag-team partners, and this year was no different.

Ochocinco, getting ready for the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, was watching the state of the union address on TV. He was puzzled by the frowning man seated behind the president. When told it was the speaker of the House, Ochocinco (who has since reverted to his original name of Chad Johnson) consoled Boehner on Twitter: ``If all else seems bad in life, just remember I love you kind sir.''

Kindness was surely not on the mind of Donald Trump when he took on all of Scotland. The real estate magnate turned presidential candidate was incensed that a ``horrendous'' wind farm is to be built off the Scottish coast by his luxury golf resort. In a seething letter, in which he invoked his Scottish-reared mother, Trump wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond: ``With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than any event in Scottish history.''

After Germany's loss in the semifinals of soccer's European Championship, one of its lawmakers rebuked the players for not singing the national anthem with proper gusto, a performance he deemed ``shameful.''

Like politics, religion crossed paths with sports inn 2012.

Manchester City, preparing for its Premier League title defense, headed to a village in the Austrian countryside for rest and training. But one thing Man City did not count on - bells from a medieval church that rattled the players from sleep at 7 a.m. Egon Pfeifer, the priest at St. Oswald Church, held his almighty ground. He said the bells would keep ringing ``even if the queen of England wants them to stop.''

A divinely named baseball team in Minnesota shed its ecclesiastical ties for one night. Two atheists groups were in town for a conference and sponsoring a minor league game. So the St. Paul Saints rebranded themselves for one night as ``Mr. Paul Aints.''

This was also a year of odds-defying moments.

Caleb Lloyd was sitting in the left field seats at a Cincinnati Reds game one spring night when he caught a home run ball hit by Reds pitcher Mike Leake. The next batter, Zack Cozart, also homered to left. And there, as if out of the mist of ``Field of Dreams,'' was Lloyd yet again - ready to stab it, with one hand.

``I was like, `Oh, my gosh, that's just crazy,''' he said.

As was the case Down Under: two amateur golfers in Sydney making consecutive holes-in-one. The odds of two golfers from the same foursome acing the same hole? The National Hole in One Registry website says it's 17 million to 1.

Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles also made a stop in the Twilight Zone. He went 0 for 8 and struck out five times as a designated hitter in a 17-inning victory over Boston. But with the bullpen depleted, he wound up being called to the mound, the first time he pitched in the pros. He threw two scoreless innings and got the win.

``I was like, `Sweet!' I get to try something different today,'' he said. ``Because hitting ain't working.''

Lots of things weren't working for one team at a girls' high school basketball game in Indiana - Arlington lost to Bloomington South 107-2. Bloomington South coach Larry Winters said he wasn't trying to humiliate an opponent. He told the Indianapolis Star he didn't want his players to stop shooting because that ``would have been more embarrassing.''

But for real embarrassment - some might say perseverance beyond all dignity and reason - check in with Russ Berkman. He's from the Seattle area and he won a lottery for passes to a practice round the day before the Masters. His dog had other ideas. Sierra took to the four tickets like a shank of veal and ate them.

What to do? Berkman told KJR radio his girlfriend insisted there was but one course of action. So he got Sierra to cough it all up, and Berkman then began the unsavory task of piecing together 20 shreds of tickets coated with dog vomit.

He reassembled almost three-quarters of them, photographed his handiwork and explained what happened to Augusta National. The club reprinted his tickets, and the Masters was on.

A happy ending for Berkman, although Sierra may have seen it differently.

---

Associated Press writers Bruce Schreiner in Louisvillle, Ky., Dan Sewell in Cincinnati and freelancer Ben McConville in Edinburgh, Scotland, contributed to this report.

Quick Links

Nuggets select Michael Porter Jr. just one pick ahead of Wizards

porterjr-nuggets-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Nuggets select Michael Porter Jr. just one pick ahead of Wizards

So close yet so far.

The Washington Wizards fell just one pick short of selecting once-coveted top prospect Michael Porter Jr., who almost fell outside of the lottery in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

But the Denver Nuggets selected the forward with the No. 14 pick.

A back injury led to widespread concern throughout NBA front offices and, as a result, Porter Jr. had the draft’s biggest slide.

In his first game for Missouri, Porter Jr. left two minutes in with injury. He underwent back surgery and would return for the last two games of the season: an SEC tournament loss to Georgia and a first-round exit to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament.

During the loss to FSU, Porter Jr. shot 4-of-12 with 16 points and 10 rebounds over 28 minutes. The 6-10 forward added three steals in the 67-54 loss.

Porter Jr. finished his freshman season averaging 10 points and 6.7 rebounds over just 17.7 minutes per game. He shot just 35 percent from the field.

Quick Links

Wizards take Oregon's Troy Brown with No. 15 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

troybrownrectangledone62118.png
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards take Oregon's Troy Brown with No. 15 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

The Wizards may have filled several needs in one pick by selecting Oregon's Troy Brown 15th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Brown, just 18 years old, plays both shooting guard and small forward. The Wizards need depth at both positions and Brown could give them insurance for Kelly Oubre, Jr., who is set to be a free agent after next season.

He also helps shore up shooting guard behind Bradley Beal. That will be extra important early in the 2018-19 season as Jodie Meeks is due to miss 19 games while serving a suspension.

Here's what you need to know about Brown...

Height: 6-7
Weight: 208
Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: 33
2017/18 stats: 11.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.2 bpg, 44.4 FG%, 29.1 3PT%, 74.3 FT%

*Brown was a one-and-done player at Oregon who in his one NCAA season showed that he can do a lot of thing on the court. He played some at shooting guard, some at small forward and says he's comfortable at point guard as well, having played there plenty in the past. Brown could be a perfect for positionless basketball.

*He is an excellent rebounder for his position. Brown pulled in 6.2 boards per game and five times had 10 or more. One of those games, on Dec. 13 against Portland State, showed well how many ways Brown can affect a game. He had 10 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, a block and a steal. Brown is also an adept passer. He prides himself on being able to set others up and has a knack for threading the needle in passing lanes.

*The biggest question for Brown is his shooting. He shot just 29.1 percent from the perimeter and 44.4 percent from the field. After his predraft workout with the Wizards, Brown blamed his percentage on shot selection. He is confident he can be a better shooter as his career goes on.

*Brown had a solid combine, measuring in over 6-foot-7 in shoes and with a 6-foot-10 wingspan. But his 33-inch max vertical leap was not great. Perhaps that will improve with time and through strength training.

*Brown's parents and sister were all college athletes and both of his parents were Nevada state correction officers. That latter fact may be the reason why Brown is mature beyond his years. Though he's 18 years old, he carries himself and handles the media as if he's a longtime NBA veteran.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!