JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: March 1, 2015

SEC College Sports Generic

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Dewon Brazelton . . .

RIP MASE: Former TSU and NBA star Anthony Mason suffered a massive heart attack earlier this month. He was at death’s door, but a fighter to the end, Mason died Saturday according to the New York Daily News.

When he was playing at TSU, I would often go watch him. At that time, he was a 6-7 guard with mad handling and scoring ability. His body was too slight to make an NBA team and he went undrafted. Intent to make an NBA team, he played professionally overseas until he built himself up to play a small forward in the NBA.

He later played 13 seasons with six teams and won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award in 1995 with the Knicks, where he played for Pat Riley from 1991-96. He was an All-Star in 2001 with the Heat.

Mason was part of the Knicks formidable front line of Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley.

My favorite Anthony Mason story was when TSU was playing Eastern Kentucky at Gentry Center. TSU was terrible. Mason took most of the shots, grabbed most of the rebounds and the Tigers often found themselves on the short end of the score.

Max Good was coaching Eastern Kentucky and the Colonels were ripping the Tigers. Mason started a good-natured running dialogue with Good. Nearing the end of the game, Good pointed at the scoreboard and suggested Mason take a look at it.

Feigning disgust, Mason’s dialogue went something like this: “Score-BOARD? You better look at the Score-BOOK! I got 42 points!’’ Those who heard it cracked up.

Teammates loved to play with him.

“Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together,’’ Ewing said after hearing of Mason’s passing. “I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance. May he rest in peace.’’

Former Knicks guard Derek Harper added: “The beauty of Anthony Mason is that he worked himself into becoming an NBA player and an All-Star.’’

His oldest son, Anthony Jr., played at St. Johns while Antoine Mason is currently playing at Auburn after transferring from Niagara.

WHO SAID THAT?: One of my Facebook friends posted this saying, author not known.

“Some people are so focused on the cheese, they never see the trap.’’

SNEAK PEAK: Looking at this coming season’s SEC football schedule, here are some things to look for.

Tennessee has seven home games and the season opener against Bowling Green is at LP Field. They leave the state to play at Florida, Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri.

Vanderbilt has six home games. The first three games of the season are home games, against Western Kentucky, Georgia and Austin Peay. They play at MTSU on Oct. 3.

Alabama has seven home games and an interesting season opener against Wisconsin in Dallas. The Tide’s non-conference games are against Louisiana-Monroe, Charleston Southern, MTSU and Wisconsin.

TITANS LOSS: They may not know it, but the Titans lost one of their most loyal fans when Carleen Whitley unexpectedly passed away from an aneurism earlier this month.

She was 59 years old and worked for 30 years at the Nashville Fire Department. I met her on my visits to NFD logistics. I made it a point to drop by her office, where she would pick my brain about all things Titans.

She and husband of 41 years, Gary, had PSL’s from Day 1 and she was opinionated on who the Titans should draft in April, whether Zack Mettenberger was the answer at quarterback, who they should cut and who they should keep. As bleak as last season was, she was always optimistic. Well, almost always.

When her office door was closed and locked last week, I thought she was away on one of her frequent cruises with Gary. It was then that I learned of her passing. They had two children who survived.

FRONT OFFICE CHANGES: The Titans release said VP Don MacLachlan and others on the business side of the franchise resigned last week. I call hogwash or worse on that one. He was the ultimate soldier, in many ways the face of a franchise that really doesn’t have a face since original owner Bud Adams passed away.

MacLachlan’s job was his life. He had a smile and rib-breaking thumps on the back for one and all. He worked the crowds at Titans social functions, on the summer caravans, with those companies that supported the Titans and with the average Timmy Titan on the streets.

Ticket manager Marty Collins and his number two man, Tim Zenner, were also among those who are no longer employed.

Memo to Tommy Smith: Your franchise has problems on and off the field. Fans are fleeing. Support is waning. Who do they look to for answers? You are not a people person. Neither has your head coach been one to date, although winning only two games, Ken Whisenhunt can be temporarily excused because he has bigger fish to fry.

TOUGH BREAKS: If it were not for bad luck Bulls guard Derrick Rose would have no luck at all. Yes another knee surgery is in Rose’s immediate plans. Lost for 4-6 weeks this time.

Rose joins a number of basketball players whose career has been shortened by knee injuries. The game is just not conducive to producing healthy knees.

You can start with former Memphis great, Penny Hardaway, whose knees were shot when he left the game. Former Tennessee great Bernard King is another one whose knees betrayed him. When he was healthy, King had the quickest first move I have ever seen.

Add former Duke great Grant Hill to the list. He had so many surgeries Hill could have probably earned a medical degree without consulting a book.

I could also add numerous NFL running backs that were forced to leave the game because of their knee surgeries.

A LOCAL HONORED:  Nashvillian John T. Morgan has been inducted into the National Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in Evansville, Indiana.

Morgan was a four-sport athlete at Antioch High. As a senior, his baseball team lost the 1960 state championship in Memphis, 5-4.

He joined the Air Force out of high school and became one of the best baseball and basketball players on the Air Force teams. Stationed at Columbus, Miss., Morgan landed on the base baseball team before being transferred to Okinawa, where he continued his service baseball career. He was twice named to the All-Air Force team.

He also played semi-pro baseball in Columbus in the Mississippi-Alabama league in 1963. Out of the Air Force, Morgan returned home and was playing for Coursey’s BBQ. It was with that team that he broke a leg and he was never the same after that.

Morgan worked as a manager for Universal Tires before moving to Metro Government where he was a Tax Enforcement Officer. He is also in the Old Timers Baseball Association and member of that Hall of Fame.

Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.

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