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Queens Chronicle

Tray too much for St. John’s

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013 10:30 am

St. John’s University men’s basketball coach Steve Lavin jokingly calls himself the “Kindergarten Cop” over the lack of juniors and seniors on his team. But if he can keep his troops healthy and intact for a year or two, then the Red Storm should return to the NCAA Tournament — better known today as March Madness.

Red Storm fans will have to be patient, however, because it probably won’t be this year, based on Sunday’s 63-47 loss against their old Big East nemesis, the Pittsburgh Panthers, at Madison Square Garden.

St. John’s actually matched up well with the vast majority of the Pitt squad, with the notable exception of senior guard Tray Woodall, who scored 25 points and always seemed to hit a big shot for the visitors whenever the Red Storm showed any sign of momentum.

Unfortunately Red Storm sophomore stars D’Angelo Harrison and Sir’Dominic Pointer were awful, scoring a mere six points each. Freshman Jakarr Sampson was the high scorer for the Johnnies, as he finished with 14 points.

Brooklyn Nets forward Jerry Stackhouse is an 18-year NBA veteran who is one of the most respected players in the game from the standpoints of both the media and his fellow players. During the NBA All-Star break his peers elected him to serve as vice president of the NBA Players Association.

One of his first duties will be to interview candidates for the executive director’s job since the players union fired Billy Hunter for alleged financial shenanigans at the rank and file’s expense, as well as charges of nepotism when it came to his hires. “There was a clear breach of fiduciary duties here,” Stackhouse told me before Friday’s Rockets-Nets game. “I am at the end of my career and I want to help my union before I retire,” he added.

Jerry is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina. He is thinking about going for an MBA degree once he leaves the NBA.

Stackhouse and his fellow NBA Players Association board members will undoubtedly interview a number of qualified candidates. They should think about reaching out to Woodside native Len Elmore, who had an 11-year career in the NBA, including stints with the Knicks and Nets. Len is a Harvard Law School alum who has worked as an assistant district attorney, as well as for some very prestigious law firms. In short, he is someone who would immediately have the respect of the NBA team owners.

The Knicks, who hit a dry patch just before and after the All-Star break, did a smart thing in signing former Nets forward Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract. Martin gives them an inside toughness that has been missing lately.

The New York Islanders finally faced reality and put goaltender Rick DiPietro on waivers last week. DiPietro has suffered from a degenerative hip for years and the team has finally given up waiting for a miracle.

The Islanders’ goal-tending situation is in a state of flux to say the least. The team recently acquired Boston Bruins All-Star goalie Tim Thomas in a trade. Thomas, though, has not reported to the Isles and most observers expect him to sit out the rest of this shortened National Hockey League season. The team’s current starting net minder, Evgeni Nabakov, came to the Islanders two years ago against his will from the Detroit Red Wings and will be a free agent at the end of this season. The odds of him returning to Long Island are slim.

It seems strange that the International Olympic Committee would vote to do away with one of the oldest Olympic sports, wrestling. Professional wrestling, with its scripted and frequently comedic action, has nothing to do with the sport of wrestling that is an integral part of athletics departments at many high schools and colleges.

Many past and present stars of World Wrestling Entertainment have been Olympic wrestlers. Among the notables are Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar, Ken Patera and the Iron Sheik. Wrestlemania, the WWE’s Super Bowl, will take place April 7 at MetLife Stadium. There will be more attention paid to the WWE than ever before because of Wrestlemania taking place in the New York media market. It would be a public relations coup for Vince McMahon’s company to put its muscle behind a campaign to get the IOC to change its mind between now and then.

Conservative radio commentator Glenn Beck took offense last week with a WWE bit that involves xenophobic villainous wrestler Jack Swagger and his racist manager Zeb Colter. Beck felt that the WWE was poking fun at the yahoos in the Tea Party. Beck is right in that the WWE script writers are clearly having some fun with a wrestler whose signature move is a pile driver called the “Patriot Act” and whose manager is undoubtedly named after wacky right-wing pundit Ann Coulter.

In an unusual move, the WWE used its airtime to have both Swagger and Colter step out of their television personae and remind Beck that they are playing fictional characters and that they are very proud of the diverse WWE fan base.

The Jets have started their rebuilding process by shedding expensive and past-their-prime linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace.

Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday led to cover stories in Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and USA Today Sports Weekly. No other athlete has come close to matching the corporate endorsements that Jordan has. His Jordan Brand athletic shoe line is the biggest-selling sneaker in the world, and his Michael Jordan Steakhouse has expanded into many major American markets, including here in New York. He is one of the very few professional athletes to walk away from a McDonald’s deal. Now if only he could turn around the fortunes of the NBA franchise that he owns, the Charlotte Bobcats, whose head coach is 2012 St. John’s Red Storm interim head coach Mike Dunlap ...

A lot was made of Danica Patrick’s winning the pole position for this year’s Daytona 500. Meanwhile she finished eighth in the race, well behind winner Jimmie Johnson. In auto racing there is very little correlation between pole position and success in the actual race itself.

Travel and lifestyle

If you have plans to go to Florida in March to see the Mets at their spring training home in Port St. Lucie, make sure to enjoy all of what southeast Florida has to offer. The eighth annual Jazz in the Gardens Festival will take place March 16 and 17 at SunLife Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins. Among the artists scheduled to take part are Earth, Wind & Fire, Ne-Yo, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Najee, New Edition and Fantasia. On your way either to or from the Jazz in the Gardens Festival, be sure to stop by the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach (technically Manalapan), which is renowned for its spas and fine restaurants.

The Entertainment Book, which normally sells for around $35 in November, has dropped in price to $20 for all editions nationwide. There is still plenty of time to enjoy “buy one, get one free” deals on restaurants, as well as big discounts on tickets to sporting events, rental cars and hotels. Go to entertainment.com, where you can check out what deals are available in any of the books for any region in the United States. It is a particularly good deal if you are traveling.

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