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Posted April 23, 2008    

Jared Allen

Al Jefferson

Tim Brewster

Scott Baker

Mr. Basketball

"On The Record"

The Gophers may not have a player chosen in this weekend’s NFL college draft.


Dalton Praises Pursuit of Allen

Count former Vikings’ assistant coach Dean Dalton among those enthusiastic about the  team acquiring defensive end Jared Allen from Kansas City. Dalton, who now analyzes the NFL in the media, told Sports Headliners on Monday that Allen’s impact on the Vikings will be dramatic.  Today the Vikings and Chiefs are expected to announce a deal that will bring Allen here in exchange for draft choices.

“That could be the type of move that could put the Vikings over the top,” Dalton said. “If I were coach (Brad) Childress I would be lobbying hard to make that deal happen.” 

Allen, 26, led the NFL in sacks last season with 15.5.  Not only was pressure on the quarterback a Vikings’ deficiency last year but the team lacks both depth and quality at defensive end.  Dalton said the addition of Allen means the pass defense becomes a lot better including the secondary which receives a “tremendous boost.”  The Vikings have perhaps the NFL’s best defense against the run, but gave up more passing yards per game than any team in the league last year.

It’s believed the Chiefs will acquire the Vikings’ No. 1 draft choice and other picks in the deal.  Dalton said acquiring Allen is “worth the cost” of the picks. 

The Vikings’ need for a speed rushing defensive end was expected to be settled by Saturday night.  By then it was expected a deal for Allen would either materialize or flop.  If the trade didn't come off, then the Vikings could have been in position to choose sack specialist Derrick Harvey of Florida with their first round pick, the 17th choice in Saturday’s college draft.   

Dalton describes Harvey as a “pure speed rush guy.”  If Harvey wasn’t available, the choice could have been defensive end Philip Merling of Clemson, a player Dalton describes as “not just a situational guy” like Harvey.  Merling is a bigger body than Harvey, making him a more versatile defensive end, although not as dazzling a pass rusher.  “They (either player) can make the Vikings better right away,” Dalton said.  

Dalton hosts a show on Sirius Satellite Radio on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Minneapolis time.  He will be talking about the draft Saturday with former Denver general manager Ted Sundquist.


Dean Dalton






Brad Childress

McHale: Jefferson “Unique” Player 

Timberwolves vice president Kevin McHale said last week that Al Jefferson, who in his first season with the team averaged 21 points per game despite being the focus of other teams’ defenses, proved to be a really “unique” player at scoring despite double and triple teaming.  “That guy can score in a shoe box,” McHale said at his annual season ending news conference. 

Jefferson, 23, who just finished his fourth NBA season, averaged 11.1 rebounds per game, ranking fifth in the NBA.  Former Timberwolf Kevin Garnett averaged 20.8 points and 10.4 rebounds in his fourth season. 

McHale said the Wolves will retain the key players on their roster and see what happens next season.  After finishing with a 22-60 record, McHale said the Wolves are capable of improving by 19 to 20 wins next season.  Essential, he said, will be for the team to win more close games than they lose, something that didn’t happen last season as the Wolves missed the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season and tied with Memphis for the third worst record in the league.  

The team has five restricted free agents and probably won’t sign all of them. The five are Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, Kirk Snyder and Chris Richard.  McHale had particular praise for Gomes, the team’s starting power forward who is likely to return with a new contract.  Decisions on restricted free agents will have to be made after the NBA draft on June 26, McHale said. 

Rookie forward Corey Brewer was a disappointment to some fans because he wasn’t able to become a regular starter and he made 37 percent of his shots, averaging 5.8 points per game.  McHale said Brewer lost confidence in his shot but that Brewer is an “unbelievable worker” and that the former Florida star “has the heart of a champion.” 

A questioner referred to Randy Wittman’s record as an NBA coach as “abysmal.”  Wittman’s three-plus seasons coaching record with Cleveland and the Wolves is 96-192.  “I think Randy is growing as a coach,” McHale said.  “I think that’s what you’ve got to do.” 

Someone else asked about the Wolves’ inefficiency at defending opponents on the perimeter, away from the basket.  McHale, who has headed the team’s basketball operations since 1995, said it’s an issue that’s concerned him for “12 or 13 years.”


 Al Jefferson








Ryan Gomes




Worth Noting   

Former Vikings assistant coach Dean Dalton's activities include coaching freshman and sophomore lacrosse at Eden Prairie High School.  

Football coach Tim Brewster and several of his players will be at a news conference today (Wednesday) to unveil the Gophers’ new uniforms. 

After Sunday’s game and going back to last season, Twins pitcher Scott Baker has 12 consecutive starts allowing three runs or less.  In those starts his record is 5-4, with a 3.42 ERA.  Baker, 2-0 this season with a 3.51 ERA, is perhaps the team’s best starter, although Livan Hernandez, 3-0 with a 3.55 ERA, has been effective, too. 

Also on Sunday, Brendan Harris became just the third Twins player to hit a home run this season. It was the Twins’ 19th game of the year. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the furthest a team has gone in a season with just two players hitting a home run since 1984 when the Cleveland Indians took 23 games before a third player homered. 

Among the interesting angles about the recently announced 2008 Big Ten/ACC Challenge is the Minnesota versus Virginia game and the Sampson family.  Incoming Gopher freshman Ralph Sampson III is expected to be a starter just like his dad was as a first year player for the Cavaliers before becoming an All-American. The Minnesota-Virginia game is December 2 at Williams Arena.  The feature game among the two conferences will be North Carolina-Michigan State from Ford Field in Detroit on December 2.   A lot of media think Purdue will be the Big Ten’s best team next season and the Boilermakers host Duke on December 2.   

Don Shelby of WCCO TV will emcee the 34th annual Mr. and Miss Basketball awards banquet on Sunday at the Minneapolis Marriott West in St. Louis Park.  The five boys’ finalists are Jared Berggren of Princeton (Wisconsin), Michael Floyd of Cretin-Derham Hall (Notre Dame); Cody Schilling of Ellsworth (Augustana in Sioux Falls); Jordan Taylor of Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Wisconsin); and Anthony Tucker of Minnetonka (Iowa).  

The girls’ finalists are Courtney Boylan of Chaska (Michigan); Kiara Buford of St. Paul Central (Minnesota); Brianna Mastey of Becker (Minnesota); Brittnye McSparron of Eastview (Drake); and Kamille Wahlin of Crookston (Iowa).  The banquet begins at 5 p.m. and tickets are $30 each.  For more information, call Ken Lien, 952-653-4356. 

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced recently that six MIAC football student-athletes are part of the 2008 NFF Hampshire Honor Society comprised of college football players from all divisions who each maintained a 3.2 GPA or better. Augsburg's Alan Mueller, Jason Weber, and John Welty, Gustavus' Jared Sieling, Saint John's John Cloeter, St. Olaf's Matt Penz were recognized with the honor. A total of 441 football student-athletes from 227 schools in all NCAA and NAIA divisions were named to the Hampshire Honor Society, an increase of more than 25 percent from the inaugural class in 2007. To qualify, student-athletes must be a starter or significant substitute in their last year of eligibility, have a minimum 3.2 cumulative grade-point average (4.0 scale), and meet all NCAA-mandated progress towards degree requirements.



Tim Brewster






Scott Baker





Ken Lien