If you're like me, you probably wondered what ever happened to former Davenport North star Ricky Davis after he was released by the Los Angeles Clippers in February.
Davis, who spent 12 years in the NBA, has been playing professional basketball in Turkey. He is averaging 14 points a game for Turk Telekom with a high of 27 points in a 111-107 double-overtime loss to Erdemirspor on March 21.
He's not the only familiar face playing in the Turkish pro league. Former Iowa player Tyler Smith also signed to play in Turkey after he was kicked off the Tennessee team in mid-season.
In fact, Smith and Davis squared off in Davis' first game in the league back in early March. Ricky had eight points and Smith scored 17 points for Bornova Belediye, which lost to Turk Telekom.
Smith is averaging 19.5 points in eight games, which would qualify him for second in the league scoring race if he had played more games. His teammate, former UCLA player Josh Shipp, currently is second in the league in scoring at 19.4.
The decisions on our Quad-City Times Athlete of the Year finalists (see page B3) never have been tougher than they were this year. It was an especially deep group of male candidates. There were three or four guys we had to leave out of the group of 12 finalists who might be candidates to win the whole thing in some other years.
In researching Jack Spencer, who will be one of the three Quad-City Sports Hall of Fame inductees at Wednesday's Salute to Sports at North High School, I stumbled across this intriguing nugget: In Spencer's senior season as a member of the Iowa basketball team, the Hawkeyes became the first college sports team ever to fly together to a road game in an airplane.
On Jan. 4, 1948, the entire team piled onto a 21-seat United Airlines DC-3 to go to Ohio State. It took 3 hours for a trip that normally was 12 hours by train.
The Hawkeyes then beat the Buckeyes in Columbus for the first time in 25 years.
Two former Mississippi Athletic Conference athletes who have been pitching in the minor leagues the past few years quietly were released by major league teams earlier this month.
Kyle Bloom, a Pleasant Valley graduate, was let go after six years in the Pittsburgh Pirates system and former North Scott star Dallas Cawiezell was cut loose by the Cleveland Indians.
Cawiezell's release was pretty surprising. At 6-foot-6, 255 pounds, his fastball has been clocked in the mid 90s, and he is only 24 years old. In three minor league seasons, he averaged nearly a strikeout an inning and had an ERA between 3.21 and 3.60 each year. It's a little early to give up on a guy like that.
Bloom, 27, didn't have quite as good numbers and he had spent three straight years in Double-A, but he's left-handed, which is a pretty desirable attribute.
It's not as though the Pirates, who are last in all of baseball in ERA, and the Indians, who are last in strikeouts, couldn't use a little pitching help.
If anyone still was lamenting the fact that Iowa missed out on getting Bob Stoops as its football coach in 1999, consider this: Stoops' Oklahoma team had three of the first four players chosen in the NFL Draft and somehow still went only
8-5 last season.
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On the Cubs' postgame radio show last week, several enterprising fans decided the answer to all the Cubs' struggles was to move Alfonso Soriano to some other position because he seemed to be having a lot of trouble handling left field.
One fan suggested they shift him to second base, the position he played early in his major league career. Someone else suggested first base. Another mentioned third.
"Sure," I thought to myself. "Next thing someone will suggest they make him a catcher."
Next caller did it. I think - and hope - he was kidding.
Where would I like to see Soriano play? Seattle.
One change the Cubs did make last week was a puzzler: They moved Carlos Zambrano from the starting rotation to the role of setup man.
It makes no sense. As several Cubs fans pointed out, when Zambrano has struggled as a starter he almost always does poorly in the first or second inning, then often settles down and pitches well. A setup guy usually only pitches one inning.
Zambrano also might be the best hitting pitcher in baseball, but he'll cease to be a factor in that area. Setup guys almost never get to the plate.
Hey, maybe Carlos could play left field when they move Soriano to some other position.