Hingis retires

Former world number one Martina Hingis announced her retirement from top-flight tennis on Friday.

The 22-year-old "Swiss Miss", who topped the world rankings for four consecutive years, revealed she has lost her battle against severe ankle problems.

She went from invincible to nothing in the time it took the Williams sisters to get going. Her legacy is impressive, but it'll be similar to the Ivan Lendl of women's. He never won Wimbledon, she could never win the French.

Tennis needs as many great players as it can get. Her presence will be missed.
posted by Poseur 2/07/2003 11:46:00 AM

Look who's above .500

The Lakers finally cracked .500. That's the good news. The bad news is that they are still 1 1/2 behind Houston for the final spot, and 3 1/2 behind 7th place Phoenix. It's still a long climb. however, do you really want to bet against the Lakers?

Didn't think so.
posted by Poseur 2/07/2003 11:41:00 AM

Lemieux goes crazy

With 5:12 left, Lemieux went after Ference. As Lemieux skated into the Panthers zone, he dumped the puck, slashed Ference’s stick, dropped his gloves and started throwing punches. Ference turtled, as he had done with McKenna.

“That’s what he does,” Lemieux said.

Panthers defenseman Pavel Trnka jumped on Lemieux’s back, and players from both sides wrestled and threw punches by the side boards. A referee held back Lemieux’s right arm, which was cocked, ready to punch Ference as he disappeared under a pile.

Asked if he was glad he didn’t throw the punch, Lemieux said, “I didn’t care at that point.”

What the hell? 29 penalty minutes in one game for Mario? That's almost a season for Mario. I know the team is in financial dire straits. I know the team on the ice stinks. And I know everyone in the league commits more stick fouls than you ever thought possible, but you can't just go crazy like that.

Or maybe you can.
posted by Poseur 2/07/2003 11:35:00 AM



Even when it went wrong, it went right for the Tigers. Robert Lane, a longtime commitment, backed out on the last day to sign with Ole Miss though many think he'll end up playing pro baseball anyway. That opened the door for JaMarcus Russell, and even higher rated QB, to sign with LSU. It was that kind of day. No one had a better finish than Nick Saban.

10 of the top 12 players in Louisiana stayed home. They took Dwayne Bowe from Miami. And in another Signing Day coup, all three top recruits from OP Walker faxed in commitments at the same time to LSU. They got everybody they targeted, and put up the wall around the state. Just a tremendous statement, it's why they are rated #1.
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 11:16:00 AM


Whitney Lewis arrived 40 minutes late, but when he opened up his letter jacket to reveal a USC jersey, I doubt the Trojans cared. The class is anchored by three of the top running back recruits in the nation. One good year, and the Trojans can flex their muscles, going into every region of the country an taking players. A huge class which shows USC is ready to be a national recruiting power again.
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 11:11:00 AM


So close to the best in the nation, but signing day went very badly for Bob Stoops. Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, a top lineman, went to Okie State. JUCO corner Chijioke Onyenegecha went to Arizona State. and the state's top player, wideout Robert Meachem, took his talents to Tennessee.

A great start and some good late signing counteract these late losses.
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 11:07:00 AM

NC State

Not used to being the toast of the recruiting world, State put together a terrific class based on line play. They just got tons of great line players, which is probably the hardest thing to find. Derek Morris,who had earlier signed with Ohio St, backed out on the national champs, and now headlines the bizarre entry into the big boys of the recruiting wars. They even raided Pennsylvania for their starting QB, Marcus Stone, who turned down Michigan and Ohio State.
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 10:58:00 AM


So they wouldn't unretire Walker's number. Who cares? They got seven of the state's top eleven rated players. Not bad, especially when you think that Georgia Tech's a pretty good program too.

The big thing is not only did they crush inside the state, but they got the players they needed. all the starting linebackers left, so UGa went out and signed five of them, including a JUCO star, Odell Thurman.
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 10:45:00 AM


Miami had a bad finish, losing several area players to out of state schools on Signing Day, but they had such an awesome head start, it didn't really matter. So what if you lose some momentum when you already have six players not only signed, but already taking classes? That means they can participate in spring practice and will have a leg up on other freshmen. So don't weep for the Canes.

posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 10:16:00 AM


Five of Florida's top ten players went to UF, a huge accomplishment for the Gators when you consider the instate competition. Just winning the battle for Florida's best keeps the cupboard very full. Throw in Chris Leak, the Parade high school player of the year, and you see why Florida may have reeeled in the best class in the country.

Ron Zook desperately needed this class, and he got it. It'll keep the alumni off his case until next season. Nothing is worse than a bad recruiting season after a disappointing year on the field. Zook stopped the perceived descent. Florida is still a power.
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 10:12:00 AM

Florida State

Despite landing two of the nation's best players, this wasn't a great class. There's no depth (only 14 players total) and both eleventh hour signings prevented total disaster.

The interesting signing is Ernie Sims, who publicly stated he wanted to wear #34 in college. Then he listed his finalists as Auburn, Georgia, and FSU. Since Bo Jackson and Herschell Walker both wore #34, it didn't take a brain surgeon to figure out where he'd end up. Yes, he announced on Signing Day to maximize specualtion, but did anyone think he wasn't going to FSU once he listed his bizarre demand?
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 10:08:00 AM

Recruiting top ten

The mythical recruiting national title is almost unanimous, and it goes to LSU. The only dissenting voice is from PrepStar, who ranked Florida #1 and LSU #3. USC and Oklahoma also came through with spectacular classes.

Does this mean anything? Not really. It's foolish to think your team is going to win the title based on a great recruiting class. However, it is a great metric of where your program is. You don't win without talent, so this is a hugely important day. So that's why we look at each of the top classes and what they mean.
posted by Poseur 2/06/2003 10:03:00 AM


One & Done: Kentucky slams Florida

The Florida Gators reached a milestone this week by taking their first ever AP #1 ranking in men's basketball.

The party's over. Tuesday night they were dismantled by the Kentucky Wildcats 70-55, but it wasn't that close. What Kentucky did to Florida in the first half of that game bordered on criminal. At one point Kentucky led by 29. In the first half they held the Gators to only one field goal in over 12 minutes. Throwing out the last ten minutes, which were mop up time, the first thirty minutes of the contest was the most impressive display we'll see all season.

Have we mentioned that the SEC is pretty good this year?
posted by uberschuck 2/04/2003 11:35:00 PM

Lions hire Mariucci

On Tuesday the Detroit Lions announced that Steve Mariucci will fill their coaching vacancy. How did it take eight days for them to pick him up? He's a proven coach and he's from Michigan. The Lions are offering a ton of cash, which is far more than the 49ers were paying Mariucci. It's one of the rare good things the Lions have done in the last couple years. It's been a long time since anyone looked forward to a Lions game, but I can't wait to see Mariucci's team take on the 49ers.

The other story here is about the NFL's quasi-affirmative action policy. The owners recently agreed that any team filling a coaching vacancy has to "seriously interview" a minority candidate. Some people are already crying foul about the Lions, but they contacted 5 minorities about the job. None decdided to interview, likely because they figured the Mariucci deal was a foregone conclusion. Give it a rest. Mariucci wasn't hired because he's white, and there's no reason to think the Lions eliminated any candidates because they are minorities. They just went after the guy they wanted. The league's policy, even if founded in good intentions, was just a formality in this case and everyone knew it.
posted by uberschuck 2/04/2003 11:27:00 PM


A brief hiatus

I'll be travelling for business over the next few days, so blogging will be very light to non-existent. I'll be back for singing day coverage.

posted by Poseur 2/03/2003 04:32:00 PM


Take these rankings with a huge block of salt, but here's the early line on National Signing Day, which is this Wednesday. The big surprises are the quality of Mississippi State and NC State's classes, as well as Florida and LSU duking it out for top honors.
posted by Poseur 2/03/2003 04:30:00 PM

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