Anybody Want A Wildcat Mug?

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This must have been the week to pick on the sports reporter.

Friday morning, this Sun Devil alum found on his desk a tongue-in-cheek gift from Circle K North manager Dale Strothmann.

It was a University of Arizona Wildcat mug.

No thanks Dale, I don't have much need for Wildcat paraphernalia. You see, while teaching Lyndsey Heizer several years ago at Rim Country Middle School, the then-teenage Wildcat-backer bombarded me with gifts of U of A cups, pins and banners.

Of course, she's now attending ASU. Bet she doesn't want them back.

Thanks, Chris

It was a nice gesture for the Longhorn boys' basketball team to visit Manzanita Manor last week. The players mingled through the halls visiting with many of the senior residents. The boys passed out schedules and invited the residents to attend upcoming games. For the residents who were bed-ridden, the players asked them to listen to the games on the radio.

Most of the residents were very receptive and seemed to enjoy the visit.

Before the visit, administrator Ken Murphy said that the residents look forward to having young people as their guests.

Coach Mike Loutzenheiser believes his players learned some of life's good lessons by taking time out of their practice and school schedules to meet with the seniors.

Chris Donaldson, a senior basketball player I once coached on the Rim Country Middle School eighth grade football team, chalked one up on this sports reporter.

Admittedly I'm getting long in the tooth, but while I was observing the visit at Manzanita Manor, Chris walked up shook my hand and said, "Hi, my name is Chris and I'm a Payson High School basketball player, what room are you in sir?"

That gave all the team and Loutzenheiser -- who I once coached at Payson High School -- a good belly laugh.

Chris, there could be paybacks.

Suns on the rise

Can those Phoenix Suns bring back the glory years of the mid-90s when Rim country basketball fans were a part of the huge crowd of devoted followers that team attracted?

With a 23-14 record and in second place in the Western Conference Pacific Division, it appears the team might be the real deal. Talk in local sports circles is that more Rim fans are making the trek to America West Arena to enjoy an NBA game

The toughest thing for about anyone, especially prep coaches to deal with, is that a player only one year out of high school could be the catalyst behind the Suns turnaround.

Amare Stoudemire corralled a rookie-record 21 rebounds and scored 16 points in the Suns 96-90 win over the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night. It's almost incomprehensible to think that a player only a season removed from high school could make such an impact in the NBA.

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