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Changed Man?

Thank you for your in-depth look into the world of Tar Heels swingman Rashad McCants (Many Moves, Many Moods, Nov. 22). He has indeed gotten a lot of negative exposure and has taken big hits from writers. But McCants has done some work on dealing with his emotions, and now it appears the cloud is finally lifting from around him. He seems prepared, mentally and emotionally, to handle the pressures of leading a national champion-caliber team.

Drew Stal, Houston

What do you get if you have a lousy attitude, put yourself before the team, are uncoachable and blame others for your every problem--and have great talent? A national profile that allows you to question why everyone is against you. Meanwhile, your head coach gets the opportunity to make excuses for your bad behavior because you can, "play your butt off." We should not wonder why the NBA has become such a vast wasteland of head cases. I applaud the decision of Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson to cut McCants from the U.S. junior national team.

Dan Welch, Champaign, Ill.

Life at the Top

I find it slightly amusing that at the same time I was watching ESPN highlights of North Carolina being humiliated by a lesser known, and more inspired, Santa Clara team, I held in my hand the very issue of SI (Nov. 22) in which you named North Carolina the No. 1 team in the country.

Matthew George, Tucson

Five ACC teams in the top 11? There is no possible way that many ACC teams can be in the top 11 once conference play begins and they begin to beat up on each other. Pollsters will drop teams who lose, regardless of how good they are and regardless of whom they lose to. The ACC is good enough to have six or seven ranked teams, but its depth assures that the schedules will be too difficult to have that many teams near the top.

Al Blesich Crown Point, Ind.

Type Writer

As a parent of a newborn daughter, I was surprised and offended by the Nov. 22 cover. The College Basketball Preview lists SI's Top 20 men's teams but only finds room to include the women's Top 10--in smaller type. Next time why not just rank the men? At least then women won't be forced to draw the conclusion that they're half as important.

Mike Wissman, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Straight Shooter

North American basketball has recently been less than successful in international tournaments, facing an onslaught of sharpshooting teams. So it was with some dismay that I realized your enormous College Basketball Preview included not one photo of an athlete shooting a jump shot. While we bemoan the drop in shooting percentages, and the mounting losses to teams from other countries, our premier sports magazine emphasizes the dunk.

Tony Bazinet, Guelph, Ont.

Adu's Agent

Contrary to what you published in Scorecard (Nov. 22), my company, SportsNet, LLC, has represented Freddy Adu since he became a professional athlete last year. SportsNet has worked in a diligent manner in guiding all aspects of Freddy's career, and through our efforts Freddy's inaugural professional season has been a resounding success. It is disheartening to see you credit another agency with being Freddy's representative.

Richard L. Motzkin, Los Angeles


Scorecard (Nov. 22) claimed that Cedric Benson of Texas had scored a touchdown in 36 consecutive games, an NCAA record. But it's hard to keep up such a scoring streak when your team is shut out, as the Longhorns were earlier this year against Oklahoma (12--0). For the record, since your note appeared Benson has scored a touchdown in one more game to extend his actual NCAA-record to having scored a touchdown in 37 nonconsecutive games.

Matt Murphree, Lewisville, Texas

Why-o, Why-o, Why-o

So Carlos Boozer likes Utah and the system there (A Moving Experience, Nov. 22). That's nice. He has a great wife who "fulfills him." That's swell. Carlos and CeCe have a house in the hills. Great. He scored an extra $27 million from Utah, above the $41 million the Cavaliers had offered after voluntarily letting him out of a contract worth only $695,000. Interesting. If that house of his has any mirrors, I wonder what Carlos sees when he looks in one? Utah plays in Cleveland on March 15, 2005. Carlos will be booed unmercifully. He will deserve it.

Tom Kissig, Lansdale, Pa.

Return to Glory

Thanks for the article on the Green Bay Packers' resurgence (Look Who's Back on Top, Nov. 22). Yes, at times it seems like 1996 again--at least until the defense takes the field.

Mike Frost, Green Bay

Under the Influence

Michael Phelps says he made a "mistake" in driving a vehicle while driving under the influence (Scorecard, Nov. 22)? This type of "mistake" costs thousands of lives every year. A mistake is wearing striped pants with a plaid shirt. DUI is a deliberate act.

Vince Valesano, Bethalto, Ill.

On the Run

As basketball turns to a speed game (Fast Times, Nov. 22), as opposed to a half-court game, the emphasis will increasingly be on point guards and their decision-making on the fast break. Does the point guard release the long pass, wait for the secondary break or set up the half-court offense? A scoring point guard is unimportant, a set-up point guard is vital. UConn and Georgia Tech demonstrated this in last year's NCAA tournament. Speed can break down the opposition at either end of the court.

Rod Steier, West Hartford, Conn.

I was blown away by the pictures that accompanied Fast Times. As a former NBA scout and a lover of SI's college basketball coverage for over 40 years, I can't remember seeing such creative photos that so completely captured the excitement and energy of the game. Kudos to Howard Schatz.

Max Shapiro, San Rafael, Calif.

Heated Debate

Your point that defense may not be so important in the NFL is well taken, as Peyton Manning and the Colts, with their "poor" defense, may prove to be the Cinderella team of the playoffs (Who's Hot and Who's Not? Nov. 22). But I disagree with your using the picture of the man holding a big D and a section of a fence to illustrate your point. That guy happens to be my husband, Eric Fabert, a 14year Colts season-ticket holder. He should be in the Who's Hot column instead of the Who's Not.

Deb Fabert, Mooresville, Ind.

Gray Matter

Who really cares about a "civil war" on the boring Champions tour (I'll Give Up My Cart When They Pry It from My Cold, Dead Hands, Nov. 1). The senior golfers seem to have a rigged deal: No cut, a payday and few new faces to challenge them, week after week. Perhaps if they get rid of the 20 guys riding carts, we'll see fresh blood and--perish the thought--a cut.

Larry Alper, Portland

If some of the players want to ban carts because they look unprofessional, they should consider banning knickers as well.

Bob Peterson, Sheboygan Falls, Wis.

Bronx Cheer

I have never read a letter to SI that raised my blood pressure like the one from Mike Altieri (Letters, Nov. 22). How dare he write about his lifelong Yankees fan dad--born, ironically, in 1918--being spared the pain of watching the Red Sox win the World Series because he had died a year earlier. Altieri's father was able to cheer many Yankees World Series victories, while Red Sox fans have suffered through too many painful winters.

Michael R. Wallenhorst, Buffalo

Silver Lining

Instead of saying Olympic and New York Marathon runner-up Meb Keflezighi "fell a bit short" in those events (Inside Track & Field, Nov. 15), perhaps you should commend him for taking on the running giants of Africa and doing the U.S. proud. Meb, thanks for making me proud again to call myself a distance runner.

Douglas Auer, Staten Island, N.Y.

Smart Choices

As an NFLPA certified financial adviser I am really proud of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Clayton (What I've Learned So Far, Nov. 15). Our program, started by Gene Upshaw, was put in place to help reduce the tens of millions that had been stolen from players by fraud in recent years. To read Fitzgerald saying, "I try to stay in my budget, do what my financial adviser tells me to do," and Clayton saying, "You make a bad decision now with money ... it could cost you your career," is a sign of hope. These kids are not going to be victims of the vultures that hover over them each and every day.

Jonathan Miller, Phoenix

He Said, Spre Said

Kudos to Rick Reilly for ripping Latrell Sprewell and showing what a mockery professional sports is becoming with athletes thinking of money before their team and fans (Life of Reilly, Nov. 15). I actually applauded when I finished reading.

Tyler Mason, Eden Prairie, Minn.

I agree that Sprewell's comments about not being able to feed his family were both laughable and insensitive. However, his saying he was "insulted" by the Timberwolves' contract extension offer was reasonable. With their offer Latrell would make on average less than half of what he will earn this year. I'm sure Rick would not find joy in receiving a fraction of his current paycheck.

Steve Ward, Arlington Heights, Ill.

After deciding not to read another article on the NBA's worst role model, Kobe Bryant (One-Man Showtime, Nov. 15), I get ambushed by Reilly's critique of Sprewell. Oh, how I would love to see Kobe and Sprewell on the same team. Now, that would make for a great Out of Touch with Reality series.

Rob Hill, Olathe, Kans.

Why couldn't it have been the basketball owners who locked out their players?

Robb Moody, Denver

Alley Fighter

Finally, a mention of bowling in SI (SCORECARD, Nov. 22). Liz Johnson's qualifying for the round of 64 at the Uniroyal Tire Classic in the previously all-male Professional Bowlers Association tour was certainly worth the ink. But with the reinvention of the men's tour and the collapse of the women's tour, I find it appalling that you've published so little about bowling. Until folks realize that bowling is not just a beer-guzzling, cigarette-smoking night out, the attendance and interest will continue to fade. You can certainly help by covering it once in a while. Bowling is a sport.

Andrea Lofstrand, Mableton, Ga.

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After the women's tour folded, Johnson joined the men.