This is an article from the March 23, 2009 issue
The ex--Blue Devil is averaging 10.9 points and 4.8 boards.
DP: If it meant winning an NCAA pool, would you pick North Carolina over Duke?
GH: Yeah, I think I'd have to go Jay Bilas. He went to Duke, his allegiances are with Duke, but [as an ESPN analyst] he has to call it like he sees it.
DP: But understand that when Bilas played, he wore really tight shorts, and that might have cut off the circulation to his brain.
GH: We wore some tight shorts, too, in the early '90s. Tight shorts and bad haircuts.
DP: This is my idea for a reality show: Have a camera crew follow Christian Laettner in full Duke uniform through Kentucky during March Madness to get people's reactions.
GH: Laettner is a little bit of a jerk, and I mean that in the nicest way. He'd probably do it for free.
DP: Why was he such a jerk, even to his own teammates?
GH: Everything was a competition. He liked to get under people's skin. We had a great group of guys and we all liked each other, but Laettner was an ass. He would pick fights with guys, like a big bully. But it would carry over onto the court. And he was so good, so competitive.
DP: If I said you could have traded him for Larry Johnson....
GH: Never. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with Christian.
DP: Shaq was almost dealt, and now he wants to be traded because he was on the block. How do you guys deal with that?
GH: In recent weeks we've seen Shaq dis everybody in the NBA. And I call him the 50 Cent of the NBA—if you say anything bad about him, he will have a mix-tape response the next day. So I'm not going to say anything negative about the big fella. No, I'm just playing....
DP: You guarded LeBron the other night. How was that?
GH: My daughter, who's seven, doesn't appreciate my career before I got hurt. She looks at me like I used to look at my dad when he was at the end of his career. Like, Dad, you're an average player. And one of her favorite players is LeBron. Before the game she said, "Dad, don't let LeBron score 50 on you." That's what I have to live with.
WITH MARCH about to get really Mad, several prominent college basketball figures were guests on the show. Here's what they had to say.
STEPHEN CURRY The Davidson guard (above) was on last week and said of his decision to hold off on the NBA draft for the chance to make another run in the NCAA tournament, "I don't have any regrets." Curry knew when he said it that the 26--7 Wildcats would likely miss the field. They did.
BILL SELF The Kansas coach, on his kids' brackets: "They better pick Kansas, or it's bread and water for the month."
ROY WILLIAMS The UNC coach said Michael Jordan still hits him up for tickets. If it's a sellout, said Williams, "Somebody is moving, and somebody just lost their parking pass."
That's Cold, Man
NORTH DAKOTA STATE coach Saul Phillips was excited to be in the field for the first time. But he was also psyched about the opportunity to go somewhere warm. "You could put together an all-star team of UCLA, Duke, North Carolina—anybody—and if you put them down in Miami, we'll play them," he said from Sioux Falls, S.D., where a blizzard stranded the team after its conference tournament. Alas, Phillips found out the NCAA has a sick sense of humor: The Bison will play its first-round game against Kansas—in Minneapolis. When we talked again on Monday, Phillips joked, "You look at this matchup, I don't see how you don't go North Dakota State right away. I'm worried about us overlooking Kansas."
Good Thing He Didn't Bolt
WHEN IT comes to negotiations, athletes usually don't reveal what-might-have-been scenarios. But LaDainian Tomlinson was very frank when talking about the teams he was interested in being traded to had he and the Chargers not agreed to a restructured deal. He mentioned the Saints, Broncos and Ravens. LT said one of the things that made Denver attractive was that it plays in the same division as San Diego. So re-signing him was a double bonus for the Chargers: They hang on to one of their most popular players, and they don't have to face an angry Tomlinson twice a year.
THE FINE PRINT: The Giants and the Jets held a ceremony as their new stadium was completed. Jimmy Hoffa showed up and signed memorabilia for an hour.
Go To DANPATRICK.COM on Mondays to hear Dan announce the week's Got It Done Award recipient.