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In the Spring, Their Fancies Will Turn to Dream Team III

USA Basketball says it will start putting together the 1996 Olympic team in the second half of next season, starting with the coach, most likely Atlanta’s Lenny Wilkens, after the all-star break and then the players sometime in the spring. That’s when things could get interesting, because the best talent might not make the cut.

Larry Johnson and Derrick Coleman might have played themselves out of Olympic gold medals with their trash-talking and physical antics during the recent World Championships. USA Basketball wants the class to have class.

With that in mind, Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune, based on interviews with committee officials, presents the early line for the Atlanta Games:

CENTERS--Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning.

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FORWARDS--Shawn Kemp, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Chris Webber and Glenn Robinson.

GUARDS--Reggie Miller, Tim Hardaway, Anfernee Hardaway and Joe Dumars.

Dumars might have been the most popular member of Dream Team II, but he will be 33 in the summer of 1996, by which time Latrell Sprewell should be reaching his prime as a shooting guard who can penetrate, play defense and be an emergency point guard. And when did John Stockton suddenly get tossed to the scrap heap? The best point guard in the game can’t slip that quickly behind versatile Anfernee Hardaway.

Trivia time: How many times has Pat Riley finished out of first place in his 12 years as an NBA head coach?

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Huskey huff: Apparently the fallout from Don James’ resignation as Washington football coach nearly a year ago still hasn’t ended. James’ successor, Jim Lambright, fired offensive coordinator Jeff Woodruff, who is also James’ son-in-law.

As Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times notes:

“Lambright knew that firing Woodruff was the right thing to do. If Woodruff weren’t married to James’ daughter, it would have been greeted with universal cheers.

“But Lambright also knew his decision could cost him any chance he might have of a friendship with James, his mentor.

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“The James family requested Lambright not attend last winter’s tribute to the former coach, a petty and potentially divisive decision, considering the 18 years of hard work, dedication and quality Lambright gave James.”

Booooooooog: Former Oriole first baseman Boog Powell took his barbecue pit-beer garden to Saratoga race track after the baseball strike closed him down at Camden Yards. That doesn’t mean he’s a serious horseplayer, though.

“I look for somebody to mark my program,” he said. “Then I go to the clubhouse and have whatever the cocktail of the day is.”

Trivia answer: None. The worst he has done is a first-place tie.

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Quotebook: Kurt Rambis, now a special assistant coach with the Lakers, when once asked his opinion on drug tests: “I’m in favor of it, as long as it’s multiple choice.”


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