OUR TOPIC TODAY is the University of Utah's basketball team. As you know, the Utes and Coach Rick Majerus are hot items these days, so we invited an expert - the anonymous and illustrious Mr. Know It All - to answer all your questions. The lines are open.
QUESTION: Mr. Know It All, what's the hardest thing about playing for Rick Majerus? The screaming? The long practices? The lectures?MR. KNOW IT ALL: The 4-hour study halls on road trips, no doubt about it.
QUESTION: Last time I checked, the initials for the University of Utah were U.U., so why do the Utes have TT on their warmups and practice shorts, and what does it stand for anyway? Terribly terrific? Tough Team? Tom Thumb? (Isn't he one of their guards?)
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Very funny. Actually, it stands for Team Together, although when they played Michigan someone said it stood for Terrible Team, Tough Time, etc.
QUESTION: What is it that Majerus is yelling at his players down on the court?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Pa-leeease! This is a family newspaper.
QUESTION: Some of the lineups Majerus puts on the floor are awfully weird. How does he decide on his substitutions?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: It's all done very scientifically. He studies films for hours, seeks advice from assistants, calls his mother and then consults his horoscope.
QUESTION: In your opinion, who is the Utes' best shooter?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Jeff Judkins. He's an assistant coach, but 10 for 13 in the alum game just about says it all.
QUESTION: I've heard that strange things happen at some of the Ute practices. Is this true?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: No. Well, there was the time a puppy whined and wetted right there on the old hardwoods, but nobody noticed because a local judge was visiting with the players and coaches, and a friend of Majerus' was shooting hoops at the other end of the court. But I don't know what you're talking about.
QUESTION: Is it true that the Utes are going to travel to Europe this summer?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Yes. Supposedly, they're going to play basketball and do some sightseeing, but I have it on good authority that Majerus is really going to take them over there and lock them in a study hall for a month.
QUESTION: What are Majerus' career plans? Do you think he'll stay at Utah?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Originally, he said he'd stay 6 or 7 years, then go to a small college somewhere to teach. Majerus says that's still the plan, except that maybe he'll go into politics next "for the same reason Jimmy Carter did. I think I could make a difference." I can see the headlines already: Majerus gets in legislator's face, house vote goes his way.
QUESTION: Gee, is there anything Majerus can't do?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Have you seen his wardrobe? He thinks Armani is an Italian guard. And his driving! The real reason he left Ball State was to escape a pile of speeding tickets.
QUESTION: I see where the Utes have been written up in just about every major publication imagineable, including a four-page spread in the latest Sports Illustrated. Is there any magazine that hasn't written about the Utes?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: GQ.
QUESTION: What is the most difficult part of the job for Majerus' assistant coaches?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Trying to see around their boss during games.
QUESTION: Why is Majerus so driven?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: This is a grown man who still drives everywhere with a basketball in his car, hoping for a pickup game; a man who says he'd chuck it all to be a benchwarmer in the NBA. Need I say more?
QUESTION: Majerus playshoops!? Is he any good?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: The only thing he can dunk, he says, is a donut, but he does boast a mean pick. Personally, I don't doubt him for a second.
QUESTION: I'd like to get Majerus a present. Any suggestions?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Shawn Bradley. Another sweater. Some shooters.
QUESTION: The Utes' early-season schedule was silly. Seattle Pacific. Cal-Davis. Pacific. What gives?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Majerus and Athletic Director Chris Hill thought the Utes were too young and needed a break. What did they know.
QUESTION: What's been the most thrilling moment for the Utes this season? Beating BYU? Winning the WAC?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Getting the new boxer-shorts uniform is high on the list, but the airplane ride from Michigan tops them all. The Utes are still recovering from that one.
QUESTION: Majerus keeps saying that the Utes are a year or two away. How could they possibly be better next year?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: The Utes have just one senior, plus three Prop. 48 freshmen sitting in the stands - 6-5 prep All-American Thomas Wyatt, who ranked among the top 15 preps in the country last year (averages: 27.3 points, 10 boards); 6-7 Kelly Walker (22 points, 11 boards, 5 blocks); 6-11 Deon Mims (18 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks) - AND they have already signed 6-8 Antoine Davison, who is averaging 20 points, 9.5 boards and 3 blocks for College of Eastern this season. My recommendation? Get your season tickets early.
QUESTION: If you know it all, Mr. Know It All, then tell me who's going to win Round II of the BYU-Utah matchup Saturday?
MR. KNOW IT ALL: Utah, by three. That's according to my mother and my horoscope.