OBSERVATIONS: UD’s Flyers dominate A-10 ‘Rookie’ award

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, in search of a stronger heater because it is colder there when the heater shuts down than Mammoth Cave, Ky.

—There is an abundance of freshmen and first-year basketball players in the Atlantic 10 Conference, but folks must wonder if the University of Dayton cornered the market.

It isn’t just that the Flyers have 11 freshmen on their roster, it is the way they dominate the league’s Rookie of the Week Award.

The Flyers have won it six times already this season, three by DaRon Holmes II and three by Malachi Smith.

Holmes won it for last week for his two outstanding games against Saint Louis and Duquesne. He averaged 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots. He buried 13 of 20 (more than half dunks) for a .650 shooting percentage.

The 6-foot-10 freshman from Goodyear, Ariz., owns 37 dunks, 42 blocked shots and 75 looks of intimidation.

He was so good against Duquesne while scoring a best 18 points, the guys broadcasting the game for USA Network said, “He will be the next No. 1 draft pick from Dayton after Obi Toppin,”

Somebody please hide the letters ‘NBA’ and the words ‘transfer portal’ from him.

—It is 2022 and Bobby Bonilla hasn’t appeared in a major league baseball games in 21 years. And yet the New York Mets are paying him $1,193,249.20 this year.

They’ve paid him that same money every year since he signed a five-year $29 million deal in 1991. And the Mets will pay him that same amount until 2035, when he is 72.

Amazingly, the Mets traded Bonilla in 1995 to Baltimore for Damon Buford and Alex Ochoa. But they remain on the hook for $1,193,249 for 14 more years. . .and, oh yeah, don’t forget the 20 cents.

So every July 1 is ‘Happy Bobby Bonilla Day.’ That’s the day the Mets cut the check, with tears streaming down their cheeks.

—This won’t happen again until one of the pyramid’s collapses. In 1974, Nolan Ryan, pitching for the California Angels, struck out 19 Boston Red Sox. He pitched 13 innings and threw 235 pitches. His reward was a no-decision, but no sore arm. He never owned a sore arm.

—Josh Allen’s success as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills is no surprise in The Man Cave.

Back in 2017, when Allen was a freshman at the University of Wyoming, I saw him play in Laramie, Wyo., in War Memorial Stadium, highest college football venue in the country at 7,165 feet.

Playing in a driving rainstorm that turned to snow, Allen led Wyoming to a 16-13 win over Colorado State. Despite the deplorable weather, he was 10 for 20 for 138 yards and was the game’s leading rusher with 60 yards.

I came back to Dayton and told people, “I just saw a future NFL star, Josh Allen.” Typical response: “Josh who?”

—NFL referee Jerome Boger became a Las Vegas boogeyman when he permitted a Bengals touchdown pass to stand. . .against the rules, When one of his officials blew his whistle while Joe Burrow’s pass was still in the air, by rule, the play was dead.

Let’s steal a chant used by the University of Dayton cheering section when it thinks an official missed a call: “Take his whistle, take his whistle.”

—Class act by Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor. After his Bengals beat a Las Vegas in their playoff game, Taylor was spotted going from bar to bar near Paul Brown Stadium passing out ‘game balls’ to fans.

Bengals owner Mike Brown, known for squeezing dollar bills until George Washington cries uncle, probably suffered cardiac arrest.

—The Gonzaga University basketball program has a lot of ‘haters’ out there. Success breeds contempt.

But a real basketball aficionado has to appreciate the program and coach Mark Few. In their last three games, the Zags have scored 117 (against Pepperdine), 110 (against Brigham Young) and 115 (against Santa Clara), They scored 60 or more points in the first half in all three games.

In those three games, Gonzaga star — the Zags are star-studded — Drew Timme made 20 straight baskets inside the arc, no misses.

Wouldn’t it be great to see Gonzaga play the Flyers in UD Arena? The two outstanding mid-major Catholic schools have met only once — Gonzaga won, 84-79, at the 2013 Maui Classic.

—From Bob Peitz, recalling what former Houston Oilers football coach Bum Phillips once said when asked why he always took his wife on road trips: “Because she is too ugly to kiss good-bye.”

Mrs. Bum then used her frying pan for something other than frying bacon.

—If the Cleveland Browns decide that quarterback Baker Mayfield is not the answer (or even the question) perhaps they should look for a guy named Joe.

Like Joe Burrow, like Joe Namath, like Joe Montana, like Joe Flacco, like Joe Theismann, like Joe Kapp, like Joe Ferguson or even like Joe Harrington.

Of course, Tom wouldn’t be bad either, if he is like Tom Brady and takes his team to 17 divisional playoff games in 21 seasons.

—From my great friend and ‘chauffeur’ Ray Snedegar: “Wonder if the guy who coined the term ‘one hit wonder’ came up with any other phrase.”

That’s what my high school baseball coach called me.

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