Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Guru's Monday Morning Musings

By Mel Greenberg

We made the trip to Bridgeport, Conn., Saturday to watch the second Temple product of Dawn Staley's program make her preseason debut in the WNBA as the Connecticut Sun met the New York Liberty.

That would be Kamesha Hairston, who was chosen in the first round by the Sun, making it the second straight season a Temple senior has been chosen early.

A year ago, Candice Dupree was the sixth overall pick by the then-expansion Chicago Sky and she went on to be taken as substitute in the All-Star game and also make the all-rookie team.

Dupree has already scored 17 points, twice, in Chicago's two preseason games.

Our main reason for going was to interview Hairston for our locally-connected print preview of the WNBA's 11th season in a few weeks. We'll also be in the Connecticut Sun's real home at the Mohegan Sun Arena Tuesday night when the Seattle Storm visits.

For that reason, we'll withhold formal comments for now, although some of what she had to say has been printed in Connecticut papers.

In side chatter, however, Hairston said she was enjoying the comforts of the Mohegan's hotel room, as the Guru told her she would. She also made her first visit to Big Bubba's Barbecue but had yet to dine at the Summer Shack, two of the media's favorite post-game stops.

Staley, who will be spending her first season spectating as a retired all-star, had commitments elsewhere as did the rest of her staff. However, former assistant coach Ervin Monier, who is now with Rhode Island, was among the crowd.

In a humorous exchange, Hairston did note the difference in the size of crowds and media from college, but we'll refrain from what was actually said.

Incidentally, Staley's final retirement celebration event is a major one that will be held by her own Dawn Staley Foundation at its annual black tie and sneakers gala. The affair will be held here in Philadelphia on May 17 at the Cescaphe Ballroom, 923 North 2nd Street, at 7 p.m.

Many of Staley's former teammates and other associates from her Olympic, professional, and collegiate career are already among the invitees.

For further details, contact Angelia Nelson, executive director of the Dawn Staley Foundation, at 215-457-1270.

49ers Seek Gold

No, we're not talking about the seekers of riches who helped established the state of California.

These would be the University of Charlotte 49ers, who will represent the United States in the World University Games competition in Bangkok, Thailand, August 7,18.

In a rarity, the representation will be by an entire existing team, instead of conference all-stars or USA Basketball selectees, as has been done in the past. Charlotte is guided by new coach Karen Aston.

Although USA Basketball made the announcement last week, the team won't be considered as a squad of the organization, according to a USA Basketball spokeswoman.


Noteworthy

Claire Smith, a colleague of the Guru in the Inquirer sports department, told us last week she will be part of a panel Monday night at Morehouse in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to a release, Morehouse Alumnus and award-winning director Spike Lee '79 will host an explosive forum on the black athlete. The forum, which will feature some of the biggest names in sports, will focus on the under representation of African Americans in the sports arena.

We mention this, because you Rutgers folks who visit the Guru's blog will be particularly interested.

As the released stated, Monday's panel will feature the following heavy hitters: Curtis Bunn, Atlanta Journal Constitution, columnist; Algee Crumpler, Atlanta Falcons; Jim Brown, NFL Hall of Famer; William "Bill" Rhoden, New York Times, columnist and author of "40 Million Dollar Slaves;" Stephen A. Smith, ESPN reporter; Claire Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer, columnist; Coach Vivian Stringer, Rutgers Women's Basketball; Etan Thomas, Washington Wizards/author; Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star, columnist; and, Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat.

This is noted here because Whitlock was one of the few, maybe the only, columnist who was critical of Stringer's speech during her team's press conference to speak to the controversial comments made by national talk show host Don Imus about the Scarlet Knights on the morning after Rutgers lost to Tennessee in the NCAA title game.

Imus was subsequently fired but did apologize to the team, which was accepted, after the two sides met at the mansion of the New Jersey governor.

-- Mel

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