JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: March 9, 2014

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Atiba Prater…

  • It's a wonderful and well-deserved honor for former Memphis Treadwell basketball star Anfernee “Penny'' Hardaway. He will be the first athlete from Tennessee to be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame later this year.

    Hardaway was a three-time all-state choice and a Class AA Mr. Basketball. He scored 1,289 points in his junior season, a state record that still stands.

    He was Parade Magazine's National Player of the Year after averaging 36.3 points as a senior. He finished with 3,039 points in his career.

    Hardaway was the third player chosen in the NBA Draft, going to the Orlando Magic. He had a 15-year NBA career while battling knee injuries.

    I wonder if Lil' Penny will introduce Hardaway at the induction ceremony. Those commercials remain my favorite of all the Nike commercials.

  • Common sense prevailed as the College Football Rules Committee voted to table the proposed 10-second defensive substitution rule.

    Alabama and Arkansas coaches Nick Saban and Bret Bielema were championing the rule that would slow down the hurry-up, no-huddle offenses that are becoming more and more popular.

    Their reasoning was in the name of player safety. Rules Committee Chairman and Air Force Troy Calhoun admitted there was no hard evidence that a hurry-up offense presented safety concerns for defensive units.

    “I didn't even know about it,'' South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said of the proposed rule change last week on the Dan Patrick Show. “I don't see any reason to change what we have.''

    Spurrier went on to say if Saban and others wanted to slow the game down, then they need to coach their defenses to keep opposing offenses off the field.

  • Among those in attendance for the OVC semi-finals Friday night was former Alabama basketball coach David Hobbs. He is currently a scout for the Utah Jazz.
  • Hobbs is in charge of the Southeastern region.

  • Drew Kelly might have played his final college game when Morehead State lost to Belmont, 86-63, in the OVC Tournament semi-finals. The Eagles finished 20-13 and could get an invitation to one of the lower tournaments.

    Kelly is the grandson of the late Austin Peay head coach Lake Kelly. The 6-6, 230-pound senior played basketball at Centennial High School where he played every position.

    He was in foul trouble against Belmont and fouled out with three points and as many rebounds in just 23 minutes.

    “It's frustrating, but part of our motto is we don't make excuses,” Kelly said after the game. “They played well and we didn't play smart in this game at all. It's very unfortunate to end and OVC career like this, but … move on.”

  • Morehead has had some memorable coaches in the past. Kentucky's star guard Kyle Macy was the Eagles coach and former Kentucky star Sean Woods is their current coach.

    The most memorable Eagles coach in terms of his name and sidelines antics was Dick Fick. He worked the sidelines harder than his players played the game. After a controversial call when playing Kentucky, the physically imposing Fick dropped to the floor like he had fainted. ESPN then created the weekly Dick Fick Award for the coach who displayed the most passion that week. (More on Fick's life in the next note.)

    Woods also has his passion bucket filled during the games. He is also a fiery competitor, who sometimes runs the length of the coaching box in a defensive stance, just like he was playing the game.

    Woods knew his team was in trouble against Belmont.

    “They did their homework and come on, you give (Belmont coach) Rick Byrd a week and a half to prepare for anybody, you're in trouble and I knew that,'' Woods said.

  • Dick Fick coached six seasons at Morehead State before he was fired. He was OVC Coach of the Year in 1995.

    A longtime alcoholic, Fick tried numerous rehab programs to no avail. He died alone at his apartment in 2003 as a result of bleeding ulcers. He was only 50.

    At the time he was a part-time assistant at St. Francis in his hometown of Joliet, Ill. He previously had been an assistant at Valparaiso for seven years and at Creighton for six. But he could never shake the demon drink.

    Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey wrote a poignant column on Fick's life and career. Fick left behind an ex-wife and two children.


  • Tom Collen, who has the shortest career of any Vanderbilt women's basketball coach, was fired Friday by Arkansas. He was 132-90 in seven years for the Razorbacks.

    Collen had been hired at Vanderbilt to replace Jim Foster, but it was discovered that Collen's resume was amiss. It claimed he had two master's degrees from Miami (Ohio). He claimed on a previous resume he only had one.

    It hit the media and Vanderbilt forced him to resign the next day.

    Eventually Collen checked his academic record and found out he indeed earned two Master's degrees. It was verified by Miami.

    After a year off, Collen then coached at Louisville for four years before taking the Arkansas job. His team lost to Ole Miss in the first round of the women's SEC tournament last week. They were 19-11 this season and 40-68 in the SEC while at Arkansas.

  • Chicago native Carlos Sainz is in his first season on the Tour, the next step down from the PGA Tour.

    While playing in the Chile Classic in Santiago this week, Sainz recorded what was reported to be the first double eagle in the tournament's history.

    On the ninth hole of the Prince of Wales course, Sainz faced a 250-yard approach shot on the par-5 hole. His shot rolled in the bucket, even though he was too far away to see it go in.

  • Nashville pro Brandt Snedeker got off to a hot start in the second round at Trump National Doral by holing out in three on the par-5 first hole.

    The rest of his round was a roller-coaster. He followed the eagle with three bogeys on the front nine for a 1-over par 37. The former Vanderbilt All-American registered birdies on No. 15 and 16, before giving them back with a double bogey on 18 for his second straight 73, leaving him 2-over at the half-way mark.

  • I'm a fan of Colts QB Andrew Luck, who was captured on camera recently using his flip-top cellphone while attending a Stanford-Colorado basketball game.

    It's not as if Luck can't afford a smartphone with a four-year contract worth $22.1 million. He just prefers old school when it comes to cellphones.

    “I think subconsciously it's a way of getting away from the internet, social media and e-mail,'' Luck said in The Post Game website. “It's a go phone. You pay as you go, but I have a plan.

    “I'm sophisticated enough to do that, having been around Silicon Valley.''

  • It was a match between two Hall of Fame basketball coaches when Louisville's Rick Pitino visited SMU, coached by Larry Brown. Both have had a number of college and NBA coaching stints. Pitino is 61; Brown a youthful looking 73.

    Brown has SMU ranked No. 18 and it was a full house at raucous Moody Coliseum. Included in the crowd was former president, George W. Bush, former Dallas QB Troy Aikman and current Dallas QB Tony Romo.

    Louisville spoiled Senior Night, beating the Mustangs, 84-71.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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