Tennessee'ssweet-slammin' Candace Parker (above) dunked on rival UConn's home court forthe first time and dropped 30 in a win. (Observed Lady Vols' Alexis Hornbuckle,"It's a plus to be Candace Parker's teammate.") The Smushier Parker, inL.A., went for season highs of 20 and 23 points, then thanked his fellow Lakersfor feeding him the ball.
Speak out againststeroids. Check. Win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. Check. Listento offers to act in a Robert De Niro movie. Check. Announce that you plan toreturn to Miami, where you're to make $16 million over the next two years as aDolphin. Check and check.
Just quack, baby.The guard's average of 18.1 points for the No. 15 Oregon Ducks is nice, butthis is even nicer: Brooks (left) hit a last-minute shot to sink No. 1UCLA.
The Nuggets'5'5" Earl Boykins has picked up the slack in Melo's absence, averaging ateam-best 23.4 points and maybe setting himself up. He could opt out of hiscontract after the season and seek more than the $3 million he's currentlydue.
Shaquille'sextended absence (left knee) has been wrecking the Heat's championship high.(Miami was 14--19 at week's end.) In Indiana, Jermaine O'Neal (left) is poppingoff--dissing his Pacers teammates for not trying hard enough and saying that itmay be time he and the team "go our separate ways."
Sit out all of2005 after bolting the Browns. Ouch. Start season as a guard for the lousyLions. Ouch. Go on injured reserve with a groin injury after playing sevengames. Ouch! Spend a night in jail for passing bad checks to a Las Vegascasino. Now that's gotta hurt.
Just squirm, baby.Raider QB's awful season (three TDs, eight picks) spells doom. Question forBrady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell: Can one of you start next week?
One New York Citytabloid declared GOOD RIDDANCE when irascible 6'10" Randy Johnson (left)got shipped back to the D-Backs after his 5.00 ERA with the Yankees lastseason. Johnson is headed home--and south in the standings: The Yanks won 97games last year, Arizona only 76.
SI PLAYERS NFLPOLL
Which head coachis hardest on his players?
Bill Parcells, Cowboys 34%
Tom Coughlin, Giants 30%
Nick Saban, Dolphins 11%
Bill Belichick, Patriots 9%
Which head coachis easiest on his players?
Tony Dungy, Colts28%
Herm Edwards, Chiefs 13%
Brian Billick, Ravens 11%
Dennis Green, Cardinals 6%
FAST FACTS Polltaken in preseason; players could not vote for their own coach.... The Broncos'Mike Shanahan tied the recently fired Green with 6% on the "easiest"list.... San Diego's Marty Schottenheimer and just-resigned Pittsburgh coachBill Cowher tied for fifth in the "hardest" category (2.4%).... Threecoaches got no votes in either poll: Cleveland's Romeo Crennel, Houston's GaryKubiak and Green Bay's Mike McCarthy.... Billick typically gives his team twodays off after wins, as well as bye weeks entirely off.
[ Based on asurvey of 361 NFL players ] • For an expanded version of the poll, go toSI.com/players.