As a high school classmate of Xavier McDaniel's, I enjoyed reading the article about him (X, Feb. 11), but I was disappointed that another classmate, Tyrone Corbin, now of the Minnesota Timberwolves, wasn't mentioned. Together, McDaniel and Corbin led the basketball team at A.C. Flora High in Columbia, S.C., to the state title in our senior year.
MARTHA KAHLER CASTRO
Neptune Beach, Fla.
Your swimsuit issue is the most heralded of the year, but what goes unnoticed are the many fine articles in the issue on subjects other than bathing suits. A case in point is Bruce Newman's excellent story about the X-Man, Xavier McDaniel of the Phoenix Suns, in this year's issue. McDaniel is fighting to prove something that he has already proved—that he is a great player and a winner.
Start preparing a speech for the Hall of Fame, Xavier. You are going to be needing one.
QUENTIN DEAN JR.
To this Seattle fan, the X-Man remains an enigma. Is he the fierce competitor and rugged physical presence he fancies himself to be, or is he the self-centered and short-fused thug he so often seemed to be during his time with the SuperSonics? McDaniel feels he must prove Seattle wrong for trading him. I suggest that the best opportunity for him to prove something would have been while he was here.
Also, the article is incorrect in saying that McDaniel was the only player to lead the nation's colleges in scoring and rebounding in the same season. When Hank Gathers was a junior at Loyola Marymount in 1988-89, he became the second to attain that feat, with 32.7 points and 13.7 rebounds a game.
I would like to thank Franz Lidz and Shelley Smith for their article about Kelly Slater, the most talked-about young surfer in the world (The Next Wave, Feb. 11). Walter Iooss Jr.'s photographs were excellent. Regrettably, though, I feel this article didn't do justice to the sport of surfing. In the opening paragraph, the obvious connection with Jeff Spicoli, the overdrugged surfer from the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, is unwarranted. Surfers like Slater and Tom Curren have been striving to prove that theirs is a valid sport and that not all participants say "killer dude" in every sentence.
KENNETH E. NOLEN
The Golden Eagles
I enjoyed Hank Hersch's article about Southern Miss forward Clarence Weatherspoon and the rest of the Golden Eagles (Spoon Dishes It Out, Feb. 11). There is, however, more to Southern Miss's athletic success than the 1990-91 basketball team and its recent dominance of the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State. The Golden Eagles football team, led by home-grown stars like Sammy Winder and Bret Favre, has played in four bowl games during the past 11 years. The women's basketball team won the Metro Conference title last season and played in the NCAA tournament. The '90 Southern Mississippi baseball team also appeared in the NCAAs, which gave the Golden Eagles four teams in postseason play last year. Three cheers for your story, and three cheers for Southern Miss.
Long Beach, Calif.
Let's be honest about former Kentucky-basketball player Eric Manuel (Odd Man Out, Feb. 11). He got a rotten deal. A fine kid and terrific basketball player, he has a valuable and marketable skill. Playing professional basketball, he would be a self-supporting, taxpaying member of society. If we are truly in the business of educating and/or training our young people to develop their talents in order to become contributing members of society, we must look at the student-athlete situation and be fair to each kid at his own level of skill and academic potential. Manuel is a credit to the game. Let him play.
KENDRED A. WHITE
In the few years since the violations occurred, there have been sweeping changes at the University of Kentucky. Unfortunately, Kentucky's turnaround is rarely noted in national publications. The media continue to scrutinize the events of three years ago. Manuel's story is unjust and tragic and deserves a happy ending, but continual rehashing of this sad saga will not change what happened. As a Kentucky graduate ('87), I desperately want to put the Bills 'n' Mills Affair in the past. Chris Mills, Eddie and Sean Sutton, the University of Kentucky—all have moved on. Please, SI, move on.
Whether Manuel was guilt or not, the school is going forward, the coaches and other players are still in the game and Manuel deserves his chance, too. The lesson has been learned.
ALLAN LEE BROUDE