Sampson: NBDL All-Star?

I also have a little Tom FitzGerald in me, so if you've got something funny or interesting to add, e-mail us at [email protected].

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Hello, and welcome to the first edition of the reborn Whine Cellar. If this style of column looks familiar, that's probably because it is-but hey, I wrote it back in '95 before it became a Tim Keown or Bruce Jenkins staple. So, without further ado . . .

The First Word: I know everyone's commented on this one, but let me add my two cents here. I'm glad someone named George Williams from Houston is still in the draft and can take the award of "Least Likely Underclassman To Get a Guaranteed Contract," but at least Williams didn't hire an agent yet. Jamal Sampson did. I really enjoyed watching Sampson develop this year, but I have a sinking feeling that goes like this, consisting of a trio of four-word phrases. Early second round pick. Offensive game still raw. Starting center-Greenville Groove.

Natalie Attired: I saw last week that Natalie Coughlin didn't get the Sullivan Award for best amateur athlete-that went to Michelle Kwan. Well, shame on them. Michelle Kwan wasn't even the best amateur female figure skater-I believe that was Sarah Hughes. Coughlin is not just the best amateur swimmer-she may be the best swimmer in the world. Well, the sophomore has two things going for her that Kwan never will. A chance for a bunch of gold medals in 2004. And damned good looks.

This Is A Recording: Looks like Cal rugby is gonna win another national championship.

In News of the Fairer Sex: I don't think I've ever seen six teams from the same conference in the top-10 nationally, but that is what Cal softball gets to deal with. This should prepare them to make the College World Series again. . . . The women's lacrosse team has won three games at Memorial Stadium, which I think brings the total number of Cal wins on that field in 2001-2002 to, um, three? . . . The women's golf team looks to be the best in school history, and Anne Walker is a veritable superstar. But was she ever city champion? I'm just asking.

What Happened to that Trail Blazers Meltdown? That Lakers-Blazers game on Sunday was one of the best NBA games I've seen in years. The Blazers actually were easy to root for. . . . Bizarre: Tim Duncan is the MVP of the NBA, hands down. The Spurs have won 70 percent of their games, and their second-best player might be a 19-year-old point guard from France. . . . I grew up in New York. I can't think of the right joke connecting Knicks GM Scott Layden and Enron, but it'll come to me.

NFL Draft Blasts: David Carr will be good. Joey Harrington will be better. . . . All the mock drafts have my beloved Giants taking one or another offensive tackle. Let me tell you something. Nothing like hearing your team select "Levi Jones, tackle, Arizona State" to make you feel like you wasted four hours listening to Mel Kiper. . . . Sadly, describes our own Scott Fujita as "not that quick, athletic, or fluid." Wow, that's tough. I hope somebody takes a chance on him-his leadership can't be measured by a 40 time.

Someone Paid $10,000 for a Piece of Gum Chewed by Luis Gonzalez: Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.

That's all for now. See ya next week in the Cellar!


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