Notebook : Dealer Sees Gretzky Sports Cards as His Tickets to Winter Olympics

Some people collect baseball cards and other sports cards because they like the pictures and statistics on their favorite players. Others now view them as an investment and buy them by the carload, hoping to get a bundle of Pete Roses or Dwight Goodens.

But Derek Koss has bigger plans.

The owner of D-J Sports Collectables in Westchester says hockey cards have built a devoted following in recent years, and Koss hopes to ride the skates of Wayne Gretzky to the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Gretzky has reached such a level of eminence that even non-hockey fans are buying his 1979 rookie card, first-year cards being the current craze in the hobby.

Koss is speculating that Gretzky cards will continue to increase in value, and he is stockpiling his cards for 1988, when he hopes to take a load of Gretzky cards to Calgary--the site of the next Winter Olympics--sell them to a local dealer and pay for his trip.

Koss' store emphasizes baseball cards and assorted memorabilia, but he also sells football, hockey and basketball cards. You never know what will appeal to a sports fan, but Koss is betting on what will appeal in Canada in three years.

You can't blame University of Santa Clara basketball players Nick Vanos and Harold Keeling if they feel a little bit like store-window mannequins after last week's game at Loyola.

Their 91-70 victory over the Lions was observed by nearly a full row of National Basketball Assn. general managers, coaches and scouts. Those checking out the material included Lakers General Manager Jerry West, Milwaukee General Manager Wayne Embry, New York Knicks Coach Hubie Brown, Golden State consultant Pete Newell, Houston scout Larry Creger, former Lakers coaches Jack McKinney and Paul Westhead and even Lakers players Kurt Rambis (a Santa Clara alumnus) and James Worthy.

They had to like what they saw of the 7-2 Vanos. Though no Patrick Ewing, the big senior scored 44 points and showed a fine shooting touch and ability to run the floor. Keeling, the West Coast Athletic Conference's top senior guard, played a supporting role and was less noticeable than senior forward Scott Lamson.

Loyola's Keith Smith--the WCAC's top junior guard--probably didn't hurt his NBA stock by hitting six straight long jumpers in the second half.

For the Record: UC Santa Barbara All-American soccer goalie Monica Hall was incorrectly identified here as a Redondo High graduate. The Redondo Beach native prepped at South Torrance High. Incidentally, UC Berkeley All-American Leslie Gallimore was a teammate of Hall at South High. Both graduated in 1981.

Several junior college football players have signed with four-year schools. Scott Provin, All-Metropolitan Conference offensive lineman from El Camino College and West Torrance High, is at the University of Miami, where he'll play in another passing-oriented program. West Los Angeles College wide receiver Bruce Walker (Inglewood High) is headed for Prairie View A&M; . . . Gonzaga University, fighting for the lead in the West Coast Athletic Conference race, put things together when Serra High graduate Dwan Hurt was moved into the starting lineup. Hurt, a guard, starred for a year at Harbor College . . . Former St. Bernard High basketball star Billy Knox, now a senior at St. Mary's, is apparently in Coach Bill Oates' doghouse and is not on the traveling squad. Knox, who started as a freshman, has played in 10 of the Gaels' 20 games but hasn't started . . . Eric Knox, Billy's younger brother, is starting and playing a prominent part as a freshman at Oregon State . . . Cal State Dominguez Hills center Kevin Burrell scored 18 points last week against Chapman College to move into third place on the Toros career scoring list. He has 858 points. Demetrius Lynch is in fourth with 841. Senior Tim Watson needs 20 points to catch Lynch . . . Loyola Marymount junior Keith Smith has moved into the 10th spot on Loyola's career scoring list with 1,190 points. At his current rate (24.7 per game) he should move comfortably into seventh place by the end of the season.

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