Monday, February 22, 2010
The San Diego State men's basketball rides a four-game winning streak into Utah this week as they take on nationally-ranked B-Y-U. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris.
PAMELA DAVIS (Host): The San Diego State men’s basketball team travels to Utah this week for a critical game. Joining us on Morning Edition is North County Times sports columnist Jay Paris. Good morning Jay.
JAY PARIS (Sports Columnist, North County Times): Good morning. How we doing?
DAVIS: Pretty good.
DWANE BROWN (Host): Well, Jay. SDSU is riding a four-game winning streak as they take on nationally-ranked BYU on Wednesday. What’s on the line for the Aztecs?
PARIS: Uh, quite a bit. Maybe a bid to the NCAA tournament later in March. This team’s really peaking at the right time. They’ve won four in a row. They could hit Mountain West Conference with a seven-game winning streak if they can get past BYU on Wednesday night. Always a tough deal to beat them up in Provo, but the Aztecs are playing good with Kawhi Leonard another double-double and Malcolm Thomas 28-career-high in points Saturday night. The Aztecs are rockin’. And let’s see where this thing goes.
BROWN: Isn’t BYU the team that beat them here at home — the only lost?
PARIS: Right. 13-and-1 the Aztecs are here this year on campus and that was a heartbreaker against BYU, so they certainly know they can play with them. Now, winning up there is a tall task. A lot of teams have gone down at BYU. But, this team, it’s a new team and it’s growing with confidence and they lost a lot last year. It seems as this season progresses the team gets better and that’s what you want to be doing, peaking at the end.
BROWN: Will they have to win the final few games to actually make it to the tournament?
PARIS: They will get into the Mount Western tournament and if you win that, that’s an automatic birth into the big-boy, the NCAA tournament. But, a win Wednesday night and going deep into the conference tournament might get them an at large bid. So, you can’t overstate how important Wednesday night’s game is.
DAVIS: Let’s turn to NASCAR. El Cajon native Jimmy Johnson won NASCAR’s race in Fontana yesterday. How dominant is this guy?
PARIS: He’s pretty darn good. You almost hate to say you’re the Tiger Woods of a sport these days, but he’s the Tiger Woods in dominance at his sport anyway. Four straight championships. He win at Fontana for the fifth time. That’s where he got his first victory up in Fontana eight years ago and now that was number 48 in his career, the same number as his car. He caught a little break when he hit the pit right when the caution flag was coming up. But, being lucky and being good is always a tough combination to beat and that’s what Jimmy had yesterday.
BROWN: Hey, Jay, let’s talk about Major League Baseball pitcher and San Diego-native Point Loma High School David Wells is among several athletes being inducted into the San Diego Hall of Fame later today. What is the legacy that the Point Loma hurler leaves?
PARIS: It always depends what side of the ledger you want to look at. You can always just look at his baseball career and baseball numbers—a phenomenal left-handed pitcher with great control and only 18 men have thrown perfect games in baseball history and Dave is one of them. So, he’s certainly immortalized in that fashion, but the other side was this is a carefree guy, a loose cannon, a guy who liked to enjoy a social sparkler and was always fun to be around. And in fact, the legacy of that great perfect game at Yankee Stadium grows because he always says he showed up half-drunk that morning from being out late that night. So, pitching under the influence might have worked for him. But, just a great guy and that should be a fun banquet tonight with David. Once David gets around and starts telling stories. Just a quick shout out to Bob Breitbard, the host of the event and the curator of the great Hall of Champions, battling some medical issues and all the best to Bob. He’s done so much for San Diego sports.
DAVIS: Greg Louganis also is going to be inducted tonight, is that correct?
PARIS: It sure is. There were few divers or few athletes amateur or professional that were bigger than Greg in the mid-80’s, won two gold medals at the Olympics in L.A. and then defended both of those gold medals in diving at Sol the following Olympics. The Hall of Greats, is among the five going in and it’s a great class. That’s always a fun night of San Diego sports and being able to soak up the San Diego landscape and being around so many great athletes in that great place, the Hall of Champions at Balboa Park.
DAVIS: North County Times Sports Columnist Jay Paris. Jay, thanks for joining us.
PARIS: Alrighty- cheers.