Bouncing around the regions in a forward lean ...
Jim Les was a guest of the Kings on Thursday night as the franchise celebrates its 30 seasons in Sacramento by bringing back beloved past players. And his banter was as genuine as his jump shot.
Now men’s basketball coach at UC Davis, where his Aggies are off to a 7-1 start, Les was a shooting guard for the Kings from 1990 to 1994. He was bear-hugged by one of his former Kings coaches, Garry St. Jean, before the tip against the Houston Rockets. The old friends compared wrinkles and gray hair.
“Coach, you never told me I’d get this gray doing this!” Les told St. Jean, who replied: “Hey, you’re looking a lot better than I am.”
Longtime Kings radio voice Gary Gerould was ribbed by Les and his wife, Jodi, for defying age. Gerould looks the same now as he did 25 years ago, and he sounds better than ever, too.
“What’s your secret, G-Man? We want it,” Les asked.
Gerould said time hasn’t dimmed his desire to belt out play-by-play, either. He was on his game Tuesday night describing Kobe Bryant’s furious finish against the Kings, and his voice doesn’t fade when the Kings are facing defeat.
“You call the game no matter who’s ahead, even if it’s the Lakers,” Gerould said.
Mo on the go – Maurice Brazelton gets his basketball as the longtime Kings’ game-day entertainment and production guru, and the McClatchy High School graduate still legs out games as a referee. If the man who goes by “Mo” isn’t officiating a Kings scrimmage, whistle in mouth and telling DeMarcus Cousins to “get out of the key!” then he’s working college games from Chico to Turlock and points between.
“I can’t get enough,” Brazelton said.
Volek patrol – A double dose of Volek played out in Florida on Dec. 6 when John and his son, Joe, coached in a youth national Shrine All-Star football game. John Volek, the onetime Sacramento State coach, and Joe, who led El Dorado to a 10-1 record this fall, coached the California All-Stars past Florida 54-0
A’s on Armstead – Oregon defensive end Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove) will be the only local starter in the debut College Football Playoffs with the Ducks playing defending national champion Florida State in a semifinal on New Year’s Day in the Rose Bowl. Armstead, a 6-foot-8, 290-pound defensive end, could be a high-round selection if he enters the NFL draft.
Jordan rules –Stanford senior safety Jordan Richards (Folsom) won the Pop Warner National College Football Award bestowed to players who exhibit exceptional performance in the classroom, the community and on the field. An NFL draft prospect, Richards was presented the award at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando.
Shaq attack – Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson (Grant) was named the Hornung Award winner for the nation’s most versatile player. He also was named to the first of perhaps several All-America teams. CBS Sports Network tabbed the junior with more All-America teams to be released in the coming weeks.
Scholar and baller – Wisconsin kicker Andrew Endicott (Jesuit) earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. The sophomore is a second-year letterman sporting near-perfect grades.
Championship chase – Southern Oregon in Ashland, with 12 area players on the roster, will play Marian University of Indiana in the NAIA championship game on Dec. 19 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Raiders (12-2) beat Saint Xavier of Chicago 62-37 in a semifinal as center Ronald Rylance (Grant) scored on a tipped pass, and Sean Tow (Union Mine) rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown. Melvin Mason of Vacaville had four rushing touchdowns in a 45-42 playoff win over Carroll of Montana, while Tow rushed for 114 yards.
Linfield looming large – Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore., is in the NCAA Division III semifinals today at Wisconsin-Whitewater, which seeks its sixth national championship since 2007. The Linfield (11-1) roster includes running back Tavon Willis (Cosumnes Oaks), defensive back Kyle Belcher (Oak Ridge) and tackle Thaddeus Cox (Whitney). Linfield has produced an all-levels college football-record 59 consecutive winning seasons. That’s seven decades and 12 U.S. presidents.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.