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New Ball Panthers; Rain Women or Lightning Lasses?; Zebra School

I've momentarily escaped the official play-for-pay land of Dolphins and Heat that keeps Death Star Tractor Beaming me away to discuss the major acquisition of the last two days.

My daughter's bunk beds got delivered!


While I was throwing Barbie's cocktail glasses in her dream house -- thank goodness it has an elevator, no way that bony lush makes it up three floors of stairs -- to prepare for delivery over the last two days, FIU basketball coach Richard Pitino was landing Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony's forward Jerome Frink and junior college shooter Malik Smith, originally out of the Boston area.

Frink, 6-6 or 6-7, was a First Team All-New Jersey player this season. He averaged 10 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during the regular season and 16.2 and 6.5 per game in the playoffs. He and Kyle Anderson, who'll be heading for UCLA, were the only two starters on both St. Anthony teams that won a combined 65 consecutive games over the last two seasons and two New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament of Champions titles.


The 6-2 Smith averaged 13.9 points per game for Jacksonville College. He's a shooter, not a slasher -- he put up over 11 shots per game, but shot only 36 percent from the field, got to the line an average of only three times per game, but sank 84 percent of his free throws.



South Alabama was giving FIU the what for, 5-1, in the fifth inning of Thursday evening 's Sun Belt tournament play when lightning halted play. Before things resumed, the rains came and shut the party down for the night. Play will restart tomorrow.



Actually, they make the call. "They" being the folks in stripes, a design formerly associated with prison, which is where some fans inevitably feel officials should wind up for stealing a game from their fair team.

Alas, about 90 high school, Division II and Division III officials won't be in jail, but will be attending the 2012 South Florida Officiating Clinic Friday and Saturday at FIU. The event put together by Miami-living nine-year NFL official Alberto Riveron and former NFL zebra Gerald Austin, officials coordinator for Conference USA, will bring in 45 active NFL and Division I officials from C-USA and the ACC for one-on-one tutoring of the 90.

But what's a ref without action to judge? Those passing by FIU Stadium or the soccer field over the next two days might notice football games inside. Thirty-six local high school teams will give the practicing refs actual 11-on-11 action to call.

They'll leave with their games on DVD and a detailed critique. The heads of offficiating for the ACC, Sun Belt, SWAC and others all have decided to drop by this weekend to observe and check out whether anyone might be ready for a bump up in level. Also, scheduled to be present is NFL vice president Carl Johnson.

Riveron says he would like to do this annually, if it goes well.  



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