Final Four Special!

Broadway Will Have to Wait

June Holdsclaw, grandmother of Chamique, was tickled with a third straight national championship Sunday, but she wasn't thrilled to hear about a column in the New York Times Saturday urging her girl to leave college early. Sportswriter Harvey Araton, in a column entitled "Broadway awaits a Star," says Chamique could "...snap her fingers and make the unchallenged women's pro policy of not signing underclassmen disappear. She could have it all—a fair amount of money and Madison Square Garden, too..."

Hearing about the column wipes the smile from June Holdsclaw's face.

"I don't know why people keep saying she needs to leave school to help me. Where did they get the idea that I need help? I'm doing fine, and all the only thing in the world that girl owes me is to get her degree."

Sign of the Times

As Tennessee was winning its third consecutive NCAA title Sunday, team mascot Smokey was parading around the floor waving an oversized directional sign with big orange letters pointing the way to San Jose, site of next year's Final Four tournament. Later, while Tennessee fans were celebrating in the lobby of the Marriott hotel, two women, apparently a mother-daughter duo, were spotted carrying off the Lady Vols' sign. It just so happened that signmaker P. Smith (who crafts these babies for the team every year) saw them outside and asked where the heck they were going with our sign. They identified themselves as UConn fans and, in those curious Connecticut accents, claimed "The 'dwog' gave it to us." (mangling the correct pronunciation of Smokey's species: "Dawg.") Later, Smith spotted the same two lugging the sign into the Westin Hotel, where they were accosted by another irate Tennessean. Again they said it was a dog gift and paused to express their displeasure that Chamique Holdsclaw wears an orange uniform rather than Huskey blue.

Smokey, whose human name is Bobby George, says their story is a doggone lie.

"If I was going to give it to anybody, it'd be somebody in orange," he growls. "UConn fans would be the last people in the world I'd give it to. We were going to use that sign next year... At the end of the game, a couple of girls came down on the floor and were saying 'Oh, please, oh, please, could I have that sign?' I said no, and left it by Lee Robertson (the cheerleader sponsor) to make sure nobody took it." The girls, who identified themselves as UConn fans, settled for getting a picture taken with Smokey.

Nobody knows how they were finally able to steal the sign from the Marriott, but Smokey is howling mad:

"It won't do them one bit of good. In the first place, the sign gives the mileage from Kansas City to San Jose. They'd have to make it to the Final Four in Kansas City—which they didn't—for the sign to mean anything. I just hope they don't give it to (their team mascot) that ugly Huskey."

Overheard in the Media Room at Kemper Arena

NCAA official: "I've asked Mr. Keith twice to leave, and he refuses." Access to the behind-the-scenes media rooms was limited to those with valid media credentials, and was strictly enforced; for example, Kansas City Chiefs star Derrick Thomas was twice refused entrance. The object of the NCAA official's frustration was actor David Keith, who had cadged an ESPN credential and was hanging around the restricted areas.