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But Fitch felt that since the team had waited so long to sign Anderson, it could have waited a few more days to work out a better way to handle the salary cap—presumably by mollifying Anderson with, say, deferred payments or a loan. "Our ownership made a horrible decision," Fitch said at the press conference called last Friday to introduce Anderson. "I'm ticked. I want to win. You can't win if you're not going to be able to control your own basketball team. I told management, if you start picking the players, then von tell them they've been waived."
Not consulting Fitch was dumb enough, but, according to Buechler, the Nets had already agreed to pay him $300,000 for the season. The Nets, who say no deal was set, will try to sign him for the NBA minimum of $130,000 if he clears waivers this week. In the meantime, the Nets are a man short.
Needless to say, Anderson's unveiling was spoiled. The day after the press conference he played in his first game as a Net, at home against the Pistons. He came off the bench at the end of the first quarter to cheers and a smattering of boos. The rust showed, as he made only three of 10 shots and committed five turnovers in New Jersey's 110-100 loss. Said Fitch, "I'm going to be more impressed, the better shape he gets in."
Neither snow, nor ice, nor 45-mph winds were going to keep these harriers from their appointed meet. As coach Dave Coppock and the Eastern Montana College cross-country team piled into a van early on the morning of Thursday. Oct. 31, these were elements they would have to brave over the 618 miles of highway that separated them from Fargo, N.Dak., home of North Dakota State and site of an NCAA regional meet.
On Friday afternoon, having arrived safely in Fargo, Coppock took his runners out to familiarize them with the course, only to discover unmarked, snow-swept tundra and nary an opponent in sight. North Dakota State coach Don Larson says, "I came out for practice, and there they were, wondering why no one else was around. I've never felt so sorry for anybody in my life." The meet, it turned out, was scheduled for the following weekend.
A mistake like that could make for some very cross country runners, but nobody held it against Coppock. "That meet has always been held the first weekend in November," says Eastern Montana athletic director Gary Nelson. "We had the new schedule, but it just didn't register. Dave is the last guy you would expect this to happen to. His IO is at least 50 points higher than anybody else's in our department."
The Yellowjackets made the return trip to Billings, and they had barely enough time to recover before they hit the road to Fargo again last Thursday. The Eastern Montana men finished only 12th out of 14 teams in the regional, and the women 16th out of 16, but at least they had a good excuse.