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Sports & Fitness // Curran Events
Bobby Curran

UH Runneth Over At RB

I never thought I’d live to say this, but the strongest position on the UH football team might well be running back. Joey Iosefa is a big, powerful back who runs well. Will Gregory is a speedy back who can get to the corner. John Lister is the best receiver in the backfield. Sterling Jackson is healthy and has excellent acceleration. And freshman Steven Lakalaka looks good in fall camp.

You could play any of the five and feel good about it. There are many battles going on for playing time, but expect the depth chart to firm up this week as preparations get specific to opening opponent USC.

One anomaly of the schedule is the bye that follows the first game. Another is the single home date in October.

Something to watch: Most teams talk about the importance of the left tackle, who is on a right-handed quarterback’s blind side. But with both starter Sean Schroeder and backup Jeremy Higgins being southpaws, the blind-side tackle is the man on the right. And there is still some shuffling going on with those offensive line positions. There will be a number of unfamiliar names who will have an impact this year. Two players who fit that description could be NeQuan Phillips, a freshman corner, and redshirt frosh Kendrick Van Ackeren.

This week will feature the season’s first Call the Coach with Norm Chow, Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Outrigger Reef. And the annual football fundraiser Pigskin Pigout at Murphy’s Bar and Grill is Thursday at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at Murphy’s or Ferguson’s Irish Pub downtown.

* A national radio interview with U.S. Olympic basketball assistant coach Jim Boeheim, who also has been the Syracuse head coach for 34 years, has sparked a lively debate. When asked where LeBron James fit in the basketball pantheon, Boeheim replied, “I always thought Michael Jordan was the greatest player I ever saw, and the best of all time. Now, I’m not so sure.”

LeBron struck London gold. AP Photo.

High implied praise for the Miami Heat star, who was league MVP, NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist, all in a year’s work.

Needless to say, many Jordan fans are outraged. They believe that Jordan’s intensity, will and clutch performances put him out of reach of a player like LeBron James. They point to the six championship rings that came in a pair of three-peats separated by a two-year absence from basketball. And the LeBron haters, though muted by this year’s accomplishments, say he’s only won one title and that he’s not the clutch performer Jordan was. Jordan had won one championship at LeBron’s age, and prior to winning was tagged as a prolific scorer whose teams couldn’t win big games.

But Boeheim points out that James is 6 feet 9 inches and 260 pounds, and unlike anyone alive, including Jordan, can defend all five positions.

“They say that about a lot of guys,” said Boeheim, “but LeBron is the only player I’ve ever seen who could actually do it.”

James also is a better passer and rebounder than Jordan. It seems a little premature to anoint LeBron as the better player, but it’s no longer a ridiculous notion.

And the scary part about James is that he’s getting better.

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