Talking Points: Farewell to Skeet

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

Condolences are in order for the family of Claude "Skeet" O'Connell and the entire Clark College family following his death at the age of 96 (see story, Page A1 of The Columbian's print edition).

O'Connell filled many roles over many years at the college — from coach to athletic director to mentor — and his contributions are reflected in the fact that the school's athletic facility is named the O'Connell Sports Center.

2

His loss will be felt throughout Clark County.Soon to be second-year player Kyrie Irving recently challenged Kobe Bryant to a game of one-on-one after an Olympic workout, the Cleveland Cavalier saying that the loser would donate $50,000 to charity.

One-on-one is a whole different ball game than 5-on-5, and it's not inconceivable that Irving could win. But whether or not this game actually happens, it brings to mind how entertaining one-on-one games would be if they were to take the place of the slam dunk contest at the All-Star Game.

NBA players probably have too much pride to actually participate in this, as it would be a serious blow to the ego should they lose. But can you imagine LeBron vs. Durant? Chris Paul vs. Russell Westbrook? Magic vs. Michael in the old-timer game? Sure beats a windmill dunk from Gerald Green.

On the other hand, maybe Irving engendered some bad karma with his challenge to Bryant. On Saturday, he broke his hand during a Cavaliers practice.

3

Phil Jackson? Jerry Sloan? Roy Hibbert?

Drama with Nic Batum? Posturing from Minnesota general manager David Kahn? Bad blood between the Timberwolves and Blazers?

These have been the story lines during this free-agency period, which has hands down been the most interesting time in Portland since mid-March.

Will the Blazers land any big names and again become a contending team? Tough to say. But with Neil Olshey in the general manager role, it looks promising that the franchise will never be one thing: Boring.

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