Morning News Report; April 4, 2012


The greatest center in ACC history — Ralph Sampson — will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Sept. 6 in Springfield, Mass.

(Courtesy Associated Press)

My take: Longtime bloggees know how I feel about this subject (yes, there’s a “Ralph Sampson is a basketball god” tab to your right). I feel he should’ve been inducted a long, long time ago and it’s a travesty it took this long. However, it’s awesome the HOF has finally come to its senses.

In the annals of college basketball, there might not be a better center outside of Sampson than UCLA’s Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton.

People have often asked why I’m such a University of Virginia sports fan … it’s because of Sampson. While everyone around me growing up in northwestern North Carolina was going crazy over UNC, N.C. State and Wake Forest in the early 1980s, I chose UVa. because of King Ralph. Even my first email address (which I still own) was wahoos50 in honor of him.

And yes … I’ll be in Springfield for the ceremony.


A march for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin will take place in Kinston today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

My take: I’ve not shared my views on this issue because I don’t know all the details. However, if Zimmerman wasn’t in danger of losing his life — and there have not been many indications that he was — why shoot at a teenager with nothing but a pack of candy and a bottle of tea?

Before you jump all over my quasi-analysis, remember this: no one knows all the details about this except for Zimmerman and Martin — and one of them is dead now.

And there is nothing wrong with a peaceful march — it’s awesome to live in a country where we can peacefully assemble without fear our government will break it up.


Two big things happened at this week’s Lenoir County School board meeting — interim superintendent Steve Mazingo had “interim” taken off his title and South Lenoir had Tim Jenkins approved as its football coach.

My take: I’m not surprised by the Mazingo move — the man has done a fine job in the interim role. For all seven board members to approve him speaks volumes and it’s good they’re unified in their support of him. Now … let’s get our coaches paid a little more so they don’t stay for a year and then move on to surrounding counties because of money, OK?

Still crappy they ran off a fine gentleman in Dr. Terry Cline, though, but I guess it’s time to close the book on that subject.

As for Jenkins — he’s got a tough job ahead of him in Deep Run, but a good foundation has been laid by Kevin Wilson, his predecessor. I’ll say what I’ve said several times: no one has better football fan support in our county than South Lenoir — it’d be good to see those fans rewarded with a consistent program.

The iPod shuffle

(Love Is) Thicker Than Water — Andy Gibb

Kinda Like A Big Deal — Clipse

Straight Outta Compton — N.W.A.

Boom Boom Pow — Black Eyed Peas

I Want To Take You Higher — Ike & Tina Turner

Morning News Report; Nov. 17, 2011


With crime back on the rise again in Kinston — including five drive-by shootings since Saturday — there is one good bit of news in the fight against the bad guys: The Free Press’ Catch-A-Criminal program has come up with its ninth arrest of 12 people featured in the program.

My take: When we started this puppy a few months ago in response to all the homicides this summer, we hoped for a 25-30 percent arrest rate. To me, 75 percent is freaking incredible.

Many, many thanks to Scott Newton and the good folks at the little bank for financing this program. Without them, there is NO WAY we could’ve made this work. Thanks to Scott and the little bank, there have been nine people taken off the street — and $2,000 has been paid out to great citizens who care about our community.


The former N.C. House Speaker is asking the current House leader to launch a formal investigation into the business practices of local state representative Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir.

My take: Bear in mind the former House Speaker is a Democrat and LaRoque is (or was) arguably the most outspoken Republican in Raleigh.

My unsolicited advice for Rep. LaRoque? Continue to be the most Sunshine Law-advocating legislator in North Carolina government and it’ll all come out in the wash. If this is just Democrats trying to quiet someone of their opposition, they’re going to look stupid for wasting taxpayer dollars for an unwarranted witch hunt. If there’s something legitimate here, then that will come out, too.

My gut, though, is that it’s the former … not the latter. We’ll see.


Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joined Dan Patrick on his national sports talk show yesterday; when Dan asked K what was his worst loss, K said it was his Blue Devils’ ACC Tournament loss to Virginia in 1983.

Curiously, Coach K mentioned that it was a tough loss because — and I’m paraphrasing here — Virginia played Ralph Sampson the entire game.

My take: Not so fast, K — thanks to a Twitter post from former Free Press Sports Editor R.L. Bynum this morning, he calls it to everyone’s attention that Ralph Sampson only played 14 of 40 minutes in the 109-66 victory.

Here’s a link to the boxscore of that game; it’s the season wrap of Virginia’s boxes in 1983, so you have to scroll down a little over halfway to get to the Virginia-Duke box … but it’s there: Ralph — the greatest center in ACC history — hit 8 of 11 shots from the field in his 14 minutes to finish with 18 points and 5 rebounds.

I’m the biggest Cavahoo fan in Lenoir County, but I’m not freaking out over this gaffe — K has done a crapload of interviews this week and this is just one question of dozens he’s answered. It probably seemed like Sampson was in the entire 40 minutes of a 109-66 rout that put his job security into question.

But it does add light to why Duke seemingly ran it up on my Wahoos over the next 25-plus years whenever it had the chance.

The iPod shuffle

Sweet Sixteen — Billy Idol

Hip Hop Hooray — Naughty By Nature

Butterfly — Crazy Town

Can’t Help Falling In Love — Elvis Presley

Always Something To Remind Me — Naked Eyes

P.S.: FOB Amanda Hickey of the Jacksonville Daily News, arguably the MVP of Freedom ENC, has a good column today on her fight to stop smoking. If you’re battling the Cigarette Satan — especially on today, the annual Great American SmokeOut — you’ll be able to relate to Amanda.

Morning News Report; June 29, 2011


I missed posting an MNR/ANR yesterday, so I didn’t get in the news about Lorenzo Charles passing away Monday. Here are several excellent articles on the man who had the most memorable dunk in NCAA basketball national championship history:

My take: I hated State because the Wuffies knocked out King Ralph and the Wahoos in 1983 in both the ACC Tournament championship game and the NCAA championship game. But that dunk — and the resulting sprinting of Coach Valvano around the court — almost made me forget my hatred of anything red. Almost.

Rest in peace, Lorenzo, who — from all accounts — was a good and decent man.


Congratulations to Justin “The Kid” Hill for his in-depthinvestigative report on Kudzu Jesus in southern Lenoir County. He received the ultimate compliment a little bit ago when picked up his article; click on the comments for some good laughs.

And that’s not the only media outlet to grab this; the N.Y. Times used an Associated Press report that gleaned Justin’s info, as has the Washington Post. I also just granted the Daily Mail of London permission to use uber-photographer Charles Buchanan’s image.

My take: Nothing at all wrong with people of faith finding their Lord and Savior in everyday things — even kudzu. Great story that is picking up legs nationally.


A heavy sigh of relief is being heard in Chapel Hill (and Kinston) as it appears the NCAA has cleared former Kinston star, current UNC star and future NFL star Quinton Coples of any violations for attending an NFL draft party in May.

The same can’t be said for former Kinston star and former UNC player Chris Hawkins, who is facing a litany of drug charges in Georgia – and that doesn’t eveninclude the bad things the NCAA had to say about him in last week’s Notice of Allegations.

My take: Good for Q. I was pretty certain nothing would come of this — and I’m glad he’ll get his senior season for the Heels (as long as they don’t beat America’s Team).

As for Hawkins … damn, dude. You might just want to get away from college athletics and think about a new career choice … OK?

The iPod shuffle

Mambo No. 5 — Lou Bega

Foreplay Long Time — Boston

I Heard It Through The Grapevine — Creedence Clearwater Revival

Stories For Boys — U2

Talking In Your Sleep — The Romantics

Afternoon News Report; Feb. 28, 2011


“The King’s Speech,” a movie that … well, I haven’t seen or knew nothing about until last night, cleaned up at the Academy Awards last night, winning four Oscars, including Best Picture.

Ratings are expected to be down for the telecast, though, due to James Franco and Anne Hathaway having the host duties.

My take: I actually watched more of the Oscars telecast this year than I have of any in a decade … mostly due to our good friend Randy Capps running a chat page for the Fayetteville Observer.

OK,I watched it to see Ms. Hathaway, too:

Giggity, indeed.


The best center in the history of ACC basketball, former Virginia star Ralph Sampson, will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Nov. 20 in Kansas City, Mo.

Seven others — including former UNC star (and Gastonia native) James Worthy, former Indiana coach and now-terrible ESPN analyst Bobby Knight and former St. John’s and NBA star Chris Mullin — will also be inducted.

My take: IT’S ABOUT TIME. I didn’t look up this hall’s criteria for induction, but how the heck did it take 27 years for this hall to consider the greatest center in ACC history and one of the top centers in NCAA history?

Next up for Ralph? The Basketball Hall of Fame — and here’s a great argument for his induction that NO ONE can argue with.


Charlie Sheen, the star of CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” blitzed TV talk shows this morning, spreading his crazy all around.

Among his nuggets of wisdom he shared included telling CBS that they’d have to pay him $3 million an episode for him to come back to the show the network has already canceled for the rest of the season.

And he said he’d only come back with an apology from CBS: “A big one. While licking my feet,” he said.

My take: So, Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith aren’t the only ones who can have public breakdowns. Somebody needs to get this dude some help before it’s too late…

The iPod shuffle

Numb — U2

We Right Here — DMX

Murder By Numbers — The Police

Fast Cars — U2

Imagine — John Lennon

P.S.: Kinston baseball coach Jason Wade has announced all three Vikings baseball games scheduled for this week have been postponed due to the boys’ basketball team’s success in the postseason. Today, the Vikings were to play at North Lenoir; Wednesday at South Lenoir; and Friday at home against Jones Senior. The game in Wheat Swamp has been moved to March 30; the others haven’t yet been rescheduled.

Afternoon News Report; Feb. 22, 2011


With the trade deadline looming, the Denver Nuggets and N.Y. Knicks finally made a deal to send Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple.

My take: Good for all parties involved — maybe now (as our good friend Heelatious said on his Facebook feed) the talking heads at ESPN can finally talk about something else.


Evidently … yes! Charlie Sheen, the star of the original “Major League” is in contract talks to reprise his role as the Wild Thing.

My take: The original was AWESOME, the second was eh and the third was unwatchable. But this is a movie I’d have to go see.


Don’t know how I forgot to include this in yesterday’s MNR, but former Virginia and NBA star Ralph Sampson is one of 12 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame, along with Chris Mullin and Dennis Rodman. The class will be announced on April 4.

My take: I hope Sampson makes it — but he’s gone this long without being a finalist, so I’m not holding my breath. But if he does … I will be in Springfield for the ceremony.

The iPod shuffle

From This Moment On — Shania Twain

Whenever, Wherever — Shakira

Shut Up — The Bloodhound Gang

I Saw The Light — Todd Rundgren

When I’m Sixty-Four — The Beatles

P.S.: I had a postscript up here yesterday about former Free Press managing editor Lee Raynor passing away but I pulled it after we found out her entire family had not been contacted. However, that has been rectified. Lee was, a lot of times, a tough person to work for (I was the sports editor for her final three years or so at TFP). And although we didn’t see eye-to-eye sometimes, I respected her as a journalist. My favorite moment working alongside her was following the West Pharmaceutical explosion when she and our publisher, Patrick Holmes, made us a real team — not just sports, news and entertainment, but a team.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the CSS Neuse Foundation, P.O. Box 251, Kinston, NC 28502. Friends may visit to sign the online register.

Rest in peace, Lee.

Ralph Sampson’s son coming to ECU

From ECU’s media relations department:

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Robert Sampson, son of three-time Naismith Award winner and former NBA All-Star Ralph Sampson, has signed a National Letter-of-Intent to attend and play basketball at East Carolina University, head coach Jeff Lebo announced Thursday.
“We are excited about Robert’s decision to be a Pirate,” Lebo said. “Robert has a tremendous upside, potential and pedigree. He has just started to scratch the surface as a player. We are delighted that he has chosen ECU to further his career.”
Sampson, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward, spent this past season at The Bullis School in Potomac, Md. He averaged 10.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 38 percent behind the arc as a senior. Sampson earned All-Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) Tournament honors, helping Bullis capture the 2010 tournament title.
“Robert’s best days are ahead of him,” Bullis coach Bruce Kelley said. “He is a long and athletic player who shoots the ball very well. As he continues to grow and get stronger he is going to develop into an outstanding college basketball player.”
Sampson began his high school career at Northview High School in suburban Atlanta, where he played for two seasons with his brother, Ralph Sampson III, who is a rising junior at the University of Minnesota.
After moving to Las Vegas midway through his junior season, Sampson enrolled at Henderson International School and joined the team for its final seven games before returning to the east coast for his senior campaign.
Sampson is the second player to join the ECU recruiting class. Greenville native Tony Smith, who played the past two seasons at Seward County (Kan.) Community College, was the first to sign an NLI with the Pirates for the 2010-11 season.

My take: Many of you probably wonder why I’m such a big Virginia fan — it’s because of Ralph Sampson. In fact, my personal AOL account is — in honor of the greatest center to ever play in the ACC.

This is fantastic news to me; NOW I can get all my stuff autographed!

Oh, and I hope Robert does great for ECU, too. Go Pirates!

The ridiculous spectacle that was Fav-ruh’s final (I hope) presser

OK, so you gave 17 years of your life to Green Bay, where you made millions upon millions of dollars and had the undying, unscrutinized adoration of guys who walk around with fake blocks of cheese on their head.

That’s no reason to get up on stage and cry like a little girl for over an hour. Geez.

I have no problem with getting choked up every now and then; God knows I was a little misty-eyed when the greatest center in the history of the ACC (Ralph Sampson) was denied a chance to play for a national championship by those weasels in Raleigh in 1983. BUT I WAS 14!

I do have a couple of good memories of Favre; the best is that interception he threw in the NFC championship in January that handed me the Walrus League fantasy football title and nearly $1,000. Thanks, Brett — that was a helluva throw.

If you want to read a great post, visit Big Daddy Drew’s inspired rant at Kissing Suzy Kolber. Warning: it’s definitely Rated R, but it’s funny as heck.

Now Fav-ruh can leave his wife and marry his first love:


(Click on the picture for a bigger image that is suitable for framing)

J.J. Redick vs. Michael Jordan

Interesting debate between JWade and Mr. Jarman on another thread about the COLLEGE (not professional) careers of Duke’s J.J. Redick and UNC’s Mike Jordan.

JWade says Jordan’s career was better because he won a national championship while Rich argues that Redick’s was better because of all the individual awards and statistics.

My react: And this is purely on collegiate career — Redick wins. Although both won national player of the year honors, Jordan was but a piece of the larger Tar Hole team at the time. Redick was — at the least — one-half (and probably more) of his team’s success. How good was Caro-whina after Jordan left? How good is Dook going to be with Redick gone? There’s your key.

But I’d argue that the all-time best center in ACC history — the glorious Ralph Sampson of the Virginia Cavaliers — had the better COLLEGIATE career than either of those two. Except that UVa went to the Final Four after he left…