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Blazer TV ad turns rookie into comedian

Best thing the Trail Blazers have going right now is the TV ad featuring Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr and the estimable Ruben Boumtje Boumtje.

You know, the one in which veterans Pippen and Kerr, using a secret microphone, coach the nervous rookie through his appearance at a grade school ('What's your favorite thing about being in the NBA?' a child asks Boumtje Boumtje. After prompts from his chuckling teammates: 'Picking up Scottie Pippen's clothes at the dry cleaners. And I get to wash Steve Kerr's car for free.').

It was shot at Oregon City's St. John's Grade School, the brainchild of Ryan Flaherty, an advertising copy writer/producer in Blazer marketing, with inspiration from the ESPN SportsCenter ad campaign.

'We wanted to do a spot with players in an everyday situation, with a couple of veterans showing the rookie the ropes, with a little levity and comic relief,' Flaherty says. 'It worked out even better than we expected.'

Boumtje Boumtje, with his facial expressions and Cameroon accent, steals the show.

'It was especially fun doing it with Ruben,' Kerr says. 'He's a rookie, has the accent, is so green and such a good guy. He was perfect for the part.'

Boumtje Boumtje says that when Blazer public relations chief Sue Carpenter gave him the script, 'I burst out laughing. It was ridiculous. But we had a lot of fun with it.'

• Mike Riley will interview at Stanford this week. The Corvallis native and former Oregon State coach, fired last week after three years with the San Diego Chargers, is on the Cardinal's short list to replace Tyrone Willingham. Another strong candidate: Florida co-offensive coordinator Buddy Teevens.

• Buffalo defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell remains the favorite to replace Riley in San Diego, but don't count out ex-Chargers head man June Jones, who is negotiating an extension at the University of Hawaii. If the Portland native signs the extension Ñ the most likely scenario Ñ he will be committed to staying with the Rainbow Warriors long-term.

• Mychal Thompson was in town last week to serve as analyst for Minnesota TV in the Timberwolves' win over the Blazers. The former Blazer and Lake Oswego resident left his family here and lives in a Minneapolis downtown hotel.

'Every five weeks, I get back four or five days,' he says. 'I love the job but miss my family.'

Thompson, though, thinks his calling is in another field. He is lobbying hard to get an assistant coaching position in the NBA next season. 'I gained so much knowledge playing under Jack Ramsay and Pat Riley, I have to pass it on to somebody,' he says.

• Benson graduate Terrance Green is in his third year as a starting guard for Nevada-Reno, ranking as the Wolf Pack's No. 2 scorer with a 15.3 average. 'A good offensive player who has had some big games for us,' says Reno assistant coach Andy McClouskey, who played at Lebanon High and Oregon State and later coached under Jimmy Anderson with the Beavers.

McClouskey came to Reno with head coach Trent Johnson, whose team is 8-5 after going 10-18 last season, Johnson's second at the helm. The Wolf Pack is picked to finish eighth in the 10-team Western Athletic Conference, 'but that's a little low,' McClouskey says. 'We're getting better.'

• Oregon State has a verbal commitment from James Finley, a 6-2, 185-pound receiver from Manual Arts High in Los Angeles. Finley caught a 43-yard touchdown pass and was named his team's most valuable player in the California-Florida prep all-star game last week. Oregon and Southern Cal were among others recruiting what one scout touts as the best high school receiver in Southern California this season.

nÊLewis & Clark coach Bob Gaillard wasn't surprised that Bill Cartwright ran off a startling two-game win streak in his first week on the job as head coach of the Chicago Bulls.

'Bill will do exceptionally well, and he will be great for the Bulls' two young big men (Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry),' Gaillard says of Cartwright, his center on those great University of San Francisco teams in the late 1970s. 'He is a reserved, controlled type of coach, not a ranter or raver, and he is very cerebral, insightful. On top of that, he has all those nice little rings on his fingers.'

Cartwright earned five championship rings with Chicago in the 1990s, three as a player and two as an assistant coach. He was also in the middle for Gaillard's Dons during their run as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation in 1976-77.

'Bill was our anchor, and a coach's dream,' Gaillard says. 'He was talented, but, really, he was a blue-collar guy who really was an overachiever. That's another reason he'll be good at this job. He can relate to the stars and the guys at the end of the bench. I talked to him for an hour the other day, and I was even more convinced he is the perfect guy for that role.'

Gaillard, 61, is in his 13th year as coach of the Pioneers. He likes his current team, which is 9-3 after a split with Whitworth and Whitman last weekend, comparing it favorably to his NAIA Final Four team of 1994. 'The Final Four team would probably beat these guys,' Gaillard says, 'but it wouldn't be five or six times in a row.'

nÊKathy Adelman Naro is back to work Ñ coaching, not teaching Ñ after the Dec. 2 birth of daughter Mary Katherine. The Jesuit girls basketball coach, who is Rick Adelman's daughter, missed only a week and a half and two games while on maternity leave. However, she won't return to teaching sophomore English for another month or so.

Her mother-in-law, Lydia Naro, normally watches the baby during Kathy's practice time and games. 'Sometimes, I take the baby to practice,' she says. 'It's hard to be away from her, but, really, it's worked out great.'

Her Crusaders haven't skipped a beat; they're 11-3 overall and 4-2 in the tough Metro League.

• The Oregon Lottery reports that Sports Action has remained unaffected by the economy or Sept. 11, maintaining an average of about $500,000 bet per week through the football season. That's on par with money spent by gamers last season. Since Sports Action made its debut in 1989, more than $24 million has been forwarded to the state's universities for athletic scholarships.

• Since 1987, student body fees have contributed about $1 million a year to the University of Oregon athletic department fund in exchange for student football and basketball tickets. Things are going so well at the Eugene school that the fee is being phased out, partially in response to protests from the university Senate.

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