Recent Articles

March madness continues



The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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NLI signing day for top hoopsters

For former Minneapolis North boys’ basketball standout RICO ALEXANDER, November 12, 2013 was a very special day. It wasn’t only because his daughter, 5-foot-6-inch girls’ basketball standout guard ALEXIS ALEXANDER (Champlin Park), was signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to attend South Dakota State University next year. It was also the fact that fellow AAU teammates KENISHA BELL (5’-8” guard, Bloomington Kennedy), CHASE COLEY (6’-3” forward, Minneapolis Washburn), TIA ELBERT (5’-7” guard, Tartan), TONOIA WADE (6’-1” forward, Bloomington Kennedy), and CAYLA MCMORRIS (6’-0 guard, Park Center) were also signing their NLIs. “I watched them develop into some fine ladies,” said Rico Alexander, who coached them in North Tartan’s AAU program. “I’m just so proud of them all.”

Bell, who signed with Marquette, averaged 12 points per game, leading Bloomington Kennedy to a runnerup Class 4A finish last spring. Continue Reading →

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Congratulations, Tubby!


 Texas Tech hires Tubby Smith while U of M keeps looking

There is no mystery about the well-designed plan to oust six-year U of M Gopher men’s basketball Head Coach Tubby Smith. Well designed, but ill-advised and poorly executed, as seen in various Star Tribune headlines Monday, March 25 through Monday, April 1. 25th: “Firing Smith would be big mistake by Gophers” (Sid Hartman)

26th: “Tubby out, U search in high gear” (Dennis Brackin)

26th: “U: time for a change”

26th: “Tubby’s best not enough”

27th: “Mn in position like sleeping giant”

28th: “Search moves on; Smart to stay at VCU”

29th: “U leaders mold coaching network”

30th: “Stop fretting, Flip [Saunders] is the right fit”

31st: “Flip says no to U”

1st: “Tubby Smith to Texas Tech; Minnesota search continues”

1st: “Minnesota basketball coaching job: Who wants it?”

Have you wondered, as I have, as to why, even when the Gophers were 15-1, the Star Tribune’s little lady from North Carolina [by way of short stints — after graduating from college — at the Boston Globe and the Detroit Free Press] was so hostile in her sports coverage of U basketball? Sources within the U as well as Minneapolis sports scene movers and shakers enable us to connect the dots. The announcement that Tubby found a new job April 1 at Texas Tech was no April Fool’s joke. Continue Reading →

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