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Barkley Top Mid-Season MVP Pick

By Mike Duffy and Andrew Heitner
Sports Columnists

Although this is an NBA All-Star edition of "Let's Argue," we feel compelled to give a Charlie Hustle award to the Globe's own Bob Ryan for copying The New York Times article concerning the firing of Cal Berkeley's basketball coach. The Times broke the story Monday on how Campenelli was fired because of his verbal tirades directed towards his players. Up to this point, the Globe had only mentioned that Campenelli was fired and nothing more. After the Times piece, however, Ryan wrote a column on Tuesday explaining to us that the firing not only depicted a coach losing perspective of college athletics, but also showed how kids were getting too soft (Ryan, if you remember, is the one who said football should be outlawed because it is too violent). This "hustle of the week" winner deserves an Old Milwaukee non-alcoholic brew (as if Old Milwaukee beer was such a potent potion itself), for we would not want to impair Ryan's reading skills when searching rival newspapers for a good story...

With All-Star weekend upon us, it is time for your humble scribes to unveil our selections for this year's starting teams. First, in the Eastern Conference: Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Jordan, Jeff Hornacek, Dominque Wilkins, and Larry Johnson. Jordan and Shaq are gimmies; Wilkins is having one of his best years despite playing for a mediocre (at best) team; Hornacek is a comfortable choice over teammate Hersey Hawkins and Drazen Petrovic. Hawkins puts up similar numbers, but Hornacek is a much better passer, defender, and clutch performer. Johnson gets the nod over Dennis Rodman and Dennis Coleman, mainly because he shoots at a higher percentage and plays more minutes. Toughest omission: Mark Price (you are in the wrong position, pal, now that His Airness plays so much point).

In the West: Hakeem Olajowan, Prince Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Tim Hardaway, and Chris Mullin. Hardaway, having a career year, gets the nod over Stockton because he does not have a Malone to pad his assist totals; Olajowan over Robinson because of a better year for a worse team. Barkley and Malone should be duking it out in the West finals. Mullin deserves it more than Drexler or Porter, who are having down years in Portland, and Richmond, who is finally getting the respect he deserves despite playing in the Arco Arena out there in the never never land of Sacramento...

Much talk has been centered around why Golden State (23-29, 161/2 games back) is not playing as well as it should be. First, some lousy draft selections have left them without a true center (although Luc Longley and Felton Spencer, big men in the middle who command respect, can be had from the 'Wolves for the right price). Secondly, Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Billy Owens, and Sarunas Marciulionis -- the four stars of the team -- have been on the court together for an entire 2 minutes and 37 seconds this season. This hurts the Warriors more than anything else. Combine those two reasons with the fact that they are in the same division as the Suns, Sonics, Balzers, and Clips and it is know wonder why Golden State is buried at the bottom of the standings...

Pound for pound, Dee Brown is the nastiest dunker in the league. Although Kemp, 'Nique, and His Airness are also awesome, Brown is 6-foot 1-inch and 160 pounds, while the abovementioned are all at least 6-foot, 6-inches. Besides having some serious ups, Brown has great instinct (see the follow-up jam in the game against Gloden State) and body control (see the off the shoulder dunk in the game against Phoenix). As soon as Dee gets his jump shot to start falling, he will be one of the premiere guards in the Conference...

Our mid-season MVP ballot has just come in and it reads like this:

1. Charles Barkley

2. (tie) Hakeem Olajowan

<\f><\f>David Robinson

4. Michael Jordan

5. Shaquille O'Neal

The turn-around of John Lucas is amazing. Lucas, an All-American basketball player who played in the U.S. Open tennis tourney at age 13, was banned from the NBA following repeated drug usage (he made Roy Tarpley look like an altar boy). He not only turned his life around (another born again Christian), but has also turned around the lives of many other people, such as Lloyd Daniels and Richard Dumas, through the drug rehabilitation clinic he runs in Miami. Currently, he has done a fantastic job in San Antonio by resurrecting the Spurs (23-3 since he took over) and lifted (no pun intended) them from fourth place to first. More astounding is that he took over for Jerry Tarkanian, who should have been able to do much better with Admiral Robinson and the boys since he was finally allowed to pay his players over the table...

For the betting public at MIT, a few quick predictions on Saturday's Grand Salami of Boxing: Julio Cesar Chavez, best pound-for-pound fighter in the world takes Greg Haugen, an admirable opponent, in 12 rounds; Azumah Nelson, second best fighter in the world, floors Gabriel Ruelas in 11; Michael Nunn will not miss the opportunity at a big payday with James Toney and makes easy work of Dan Morgan; the only upset of the night comes from Maurice Blocker who out points Terry Norris to take the title...

You Heard It Here First

With major league baseball badly in need of a Washington insider to thwart any attempts by Congress to make them into a trust, and politicians looking for a way to get a raise (now that Clinton's economic plan has been unveiled), look for Senator George Mitchell (D-Maine) to become the next commish of the league.

Flub of the Week

To Louisville's Derwin Webb and Dwayne Morton, who each missed dunks in the last 39 seconds of the Cardinals upset loss (at home) to Western Kentucky, 78-77. Webb's stuff would have put Louisville up by four to ice the game, while Morton's buzzer miss would have won the game as well.

Simson's Top 5

1. Indiana

2. Kentucky

3. Michigan

4. North Carolina

5. Cincinnati

Where Are They Now?

Non starters of the 1984 men's Olympic basketball team (including alternates): Waymon Tisdale, Steve Alford, Johnny Dawkins, Gordon Lancaster, Joe Kleine, Jon Koncak, Tim McCormick, Chuck Person, Alvin Robertson, Leon Wood, and Jeff Turner.

Race for Futility

Mavs: 4-45

Sharks: 7-49-2

In ending their 17 game losing streak this week with their first points since a tie back on Jan. 2, Mudsharks threatened to drop out of the race until their public relations director noted that San Jose trails the fifth place team in Smythe Division (Edmonton) by more points, 34, than the sixth place team, Philadelphia, trails first-place Pittsburgh in the Patrick Division, 30. Mavs win total is equal to the number of Hyundais vandalized this week; our sources tell us that Ben Johnson, still bitter that the South Korean judges were able to detect steroids in his body, has been attacking the Hyundais. With three losses this week, Mavs magic number to be "mathematically" eliminated from the playoffs is down to 13.

Globe Gem of The Week

When Donut Dan and Meatball Mike take the week off and Bullet Bob lets his reading cult down, the three Mousketeers pass their torch to the younger scribes. Up and comer, Steve "French Fry" Fainaru, provides this week's gem with a quote regarding Suns' rookie Richard Dumas: "He has exploded off of the floor so quickly that the ensuing dunk seems random, as though it came out of nowhere." Someone from Course XVIII ought to tutor the Fry on the definition of random.

MIT TWIB Notes

Despite the scrappy play of the greatest seventh man in all of NCAA volleyball, "San" Juanito Ramos '93, the men's team lost a three-set cliff hanger to the Harvard "Chap Stick" Crimson squad on Sunday. The men's junior varsity basketball team also lost this week, by the score of 69-32 to Navy Prep. The team was led by the Herculean efforts of Jim Cleamons '95, 16 points, and Brain "Big Daddy" Davison '95...

We take time to applaud the efforts of David Steel G, who will be turning in his pen/keys and retiring this week as the greatest manager an MIT team has ever had, and to all of those students who donate their time and energy to the varsity programs here at MIT...

Trivia Question of the Week

Who won the first NBA Slam Dunk contest? (Hint: It took place at McNichols Arena in Denver.) Send all answers to sports<\ Bobby Knight (coach), Vern Fleming, Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, and Sam Perkins. Congratulations to Chris Shutts '93 who provided the only correct answer. He wins the right to be the first person interviewed to be the next Dean of the Sloan School...

Rumblings From Around the 'Tute

Eugeno Torres '93 writes to us, concerning the 1984 Olympic team: "Their only loss as a team came to a scrappy team from Puerto Rico in the first round. PR was led by Mario "Quijote" Morales' 48 points, 15 boards, 12 assists, and 8 blocks. Final Score: 167-86, Puerto Rico."

Jeff Ma '94 and Mike Aponte send this observation: "We think that Tisdale was the last starter although Knight was known to point to one-square-foot spot on the floor and say, `This is the spot where Waymon Tisdale hustles.'<\f>"