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PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Without detracting from Payton's skills, it must be remembered that the Oregon State basketball program is a success story in its own right. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Ralph Miller, this woefully underfunded program (unlike most states, Oregon budgets no state funds for major college athletic programs) had the best record, both within the conference and overall, in the Pac-10 in the 1980s. Here's hoping the Beavers can continue their success under Miller's successor, Jim Anderson, and that Payton develops into the NBA All-Star he has the potential to be.
We Oregonians have had the honor of watching Payton play basketball for the last four years. We know him as the guy who lectures kids on the dangers of drugs, who always gives autographs and who never says anything negative about his teammates. He takes everyone up a notch, and the NBA team that gets him will be very lucky.
I want to call your attention to the fact that crazed hackers have apparently broken into your computer. These hackers would have us believe that Curry Kirk Patrick's story named Payton player of the year and didn't even mention Syracuse's Derrick Coleman. It must have been hackers. We all know that Kirkpatrick has more brains than that.
One standard for selecting the player of the year must be how he performs in big games. In the final weekend of the regular season, Coleman had 27 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and three steals in a win over Georgetown. Payton was held to five points in a loss to Arizona.
We had better watch these hackers. Next they will have us believing that Kirkpatrick does inane stories for basketball pregame TV shows.
There's no question that Fisk is an extraordinary player, but there's also no question that the fact that he's still playing at the age of 42 is attributable more to his $1.75 million salary than to any "hard-edged New England work ethic." One of the unanticipated results of free agency is that the astronomical salaries it has produced have enticed players such as Fisk, who otherwise would have retired years ago, to play on well past their 40th birthdays. In the process, these players take up roster spots that should, by rights, be going to rookies. How are we ever going to find the Carlton Fisks of tomorrow if the Carlton Fisks of today insist on playing forever?