Is Golden State in Ridnours near future?
Speculation has Oregon's Luke Ridnour going as high as 11th to Golden State in Thursday's NBA draft. The Warriors may lose incumbent point guard Gilbert Arenas to free agency, and General Manager Garry St. Jean likes Ridnour and compares him to flashy former NBA guard Ernie DiGregorio.
'He has a gift you love to see,' St. Jean tells the San Francisco Bay Area media. 'Show me a player who can pass, and he can play. Luke can flat-out deliver the ball and is extremely confident in transition. He has a nice feel for the pick-and-roll, and his shooting will get better.
'The key thing (in evaluating his potential) is how you envision his strength, and how he will do defensively.'
A scout from another team guesses that Ridnour will go somewhere from 15th to 17th, possibly as the fourth point guard behind Texas' T.J. Ford, Kansas' Kirk Hinrich and Louisville's Reece Gaines.
'His size and quickness scare me some,' the scout says, 'but the kid loves to play, and he can shoot. But who knows where he will go. It's a crazy draft. You have a couple of high school kids and a lot of foreign kids I don't think scouts know enough about. There might be some mistakes made this year.'
• D.J. Jackson, the former Jesuit High three-sport star, is playing centerfield for the Los Angeles Dodgers' Rookie League team in Vero Beach, Fla.
Jackson, an all-state running back at Jesuit, signed a letter of intent to play at Boise State before being drafted by the Dodgers in 2002. He opted to play baseball last season for Chandler/Gilbert (Ariz.) Junior College. He batted .309, 'learned how to hit' and helped the team to the state JC championship. Then he signed with the Dodgers, who still held his rights.
'It's been good so far,' Jackson says from his room at Dodgertown in Vero Beach. 'One publication had me as the No. 3 prospect in camp. It's a great organization. They know exactly what they are doing and how they are going to bring each player along.'
Jackson will play for the Vero Beach team in the Gulf Coast League until the end of August, then participate in an instructional camp and league through the fall.
• Sports Adventures, which specializes in sports fantasy camps, is planning a Portland Trail Blazers fantasy camp next March 24-28 in Portland. Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton are among those involved, and the camp will feature players from the 1977 championship team as well as from the 1989-92 teams that reached the NBA Finals twice. For more information, go to www.sports-adventures.com or call 1-888-901-7529.
• Ex-Oregon State cornerback Dennis Weathersby flew to Cincinnati last week to meet with Bengals coaches and go through workouts with his new teammates. Weathersby, not fully recovered from the April 20 drive-by shooting in Compton, Calif., that left him with a bullet in his biceps, was a fourth-round draft choice. Before the shooting, he was expected to go in the late first or second round.
'I'm obviously not back to where I was before I got shot,' says Weathersby, who expects to be 100 percent by the time training camp begins July 28. 'It's going to be a process, but I am feeling better.'
• Ex-Oregon quarterback Akili Smith is one of four candidates who will enter Green Bay training camp hoping to be the understudy to Brett Favre. Smith signed a one-year deal worth the league-minimum $530,000, plus a $15,000 signing bonus.
Smith, 27 and recently released by Cincinnati, will battle Doug Pederson, Craig Nall and Eric Crouch. The latter two have not played a down in the NFL.
'We are excited to have him come in and compete with our quarterbacks,' says Mark Hatley, Packers vice president of football operations. 'He still has a lot of athleticism and a strong arm. There's a lot Akili brings to the table to be excited about. É He has enough talent. The rest is up to him.'
• Even with all the publicity he got during his five-game ride as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback when Donovan McNabb was injured last season, A.J. Feeley will enter training camp third string behind McNabb and Koy Detmer. Feeley's contract is up after next season, and there's speculation that the Eagles might trade him.
If that happens, the ex-Duck's girlfriend, Philadelphia Charge soccer star Heather Mitts, wouldn't let a move split them up.
'I would go with him,' Mitts tells the Philadelphia Daily News. 'I think I could find a way to continue my career, wherever he went.'
• Nine former collegians from the state of Oregon are playing in the Canadian Football League, which started its season last week.
Former Oregon defensive backs Kenny Wheaton and Michael Fletcher both started for Toronto in its 20-18 loss to Saskatchewan. Wheaton had four tackles and Fletcher two.
Former Oregon Stater Inoke Breckterfield, a starting defensive end, had a sack in Winnipeg's 34-27 win over British Columbia. Former Portland Stater Herman Smith, who started at defensive end for B.C., had one tackle. Teammate Steve Hardin, an ex-Duck, started at offensive tackle.
Ex-PSU offensive tackle Bobby Singh and ex-Duck cornerback Davis Sanchez started in Calgary's 23-20 overtime loss to Montreal.
Ex-Viking offensive tackle Chris Burns started for Ottawa in its 27-17 win over Hamilton.
Ex-Duck Jason Maas, recuperating from offseason back surgery, was listed as Edmonton's third quarterback but didn't play in the Eskimos' 34-16 loss to Montreal.