While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:
1. Sergio Garcia was close to adding a new title Tuesday: el papa. After becoming the Masters champion last April and a husband last July, the adopted Texan will soon become a father. At the start of a conference call to promote this year’s Masters, Garcia announced that he and Angela were at an undisclosed Austin hospital a week before their first-born daughter was to arrive, but there was no update late Tuesday afternoon. Garcia isn’t approaching this year’s Masters any differently but isn’t superstitious by nature. But he added, “We need a little bit of a bigger house now with the baby coming. I’m not that superstitious to try to do everything like I did last year. It’s not that if you walk out on Sunday with your left foot first, you should do it again.” … When I asked what kind of impact Tiger Woods will have on Augusta, he said, “It’s obviously been a big impact. We all know what kind of player he can be when he’s healthy. I’m sure he’s excited to come back to Augusta, and it’s a place where he’s done well, so I would expect him to do fairly well.” Woods’ presence just might help Garcia’s chances of repeating because Tiger will take much of the scrutiny off him.
2. Shaka Smart lost out in recruiting Nevada twins Caleb and Cody Martin twice — once at VCU and once at Texas. Smart recruited both when they decided to transfer from North Carolina State, but they went to Nevada, which will play Texas in the NCAA opening round Friday. “Cody is a phenomenal ballhandler and is very athletic,” Smart said. “Caleb’s a better shooter and a more natural scorer. But they’re both 6-7 and can play multiple positions, anywhere from the 1 to the 4.” … The Martins aren’t the only transfers for the Wolf Pack. Hallice Cook played a year at Oregon State and a year at Iowa State. Kendall Stephens made 173 3-pointers in three years at Purdue. Jordan Caroline transferred from Southern Illinois. “He’s a load,” Smart said. “He’s tough. He’s aggressive. He’s a great rebounder with great feet.” Asked how many NBA players Nevada has, Smart said, “At least four.” Yikes.
3. Kerwin Roach II, the lone Texas player with any NCAA Tournament experience (12 minutes, six points and three rebounds as a freshman reserve against Northern Iowa in 2016), said sophomore Jacob Young could be the Horns’ secret weapon. There will be no player in the field as fearless as Young. “He definitely could be our X-factor,” Snoop said. … Mo Bamba said he first watched the NCAAs in 2010 because his brother was being recruited by Arizona, which in 2011 bounced Texas in the second round because of a controversial five-second call. And why didn’t he go to Arizona to join Deandre Ayton in a formidable frontcourt? “I like Texas better,” Bamba said. “I knew all the pressure here would be on me this season because I’m the so-called Mr. Recruit Guy, but I told the team I’m not taking over this program. I’m going to do my part.” … Bamba raves about Jericho Sims, who is so athletic he played wide receiver/tight end/safety until the ninth grade (his high school didn’t offer football). Bamba said: “People sleep on Jericho. I can easily see Jericho playing at the next level and doing well at the next level.”
4. Fran Fraschilla sees a wide-open field in this year’s NCAAs, “as balanced as I’ve seen in the last few years.” The ESPN color analyst told me in Kansas City, Mo., that between 20 and 25 teams could reach this year’s Final Four. “Virginia’s certainly very good, and Villanova looks like a juggernaut. But … a team can come from the Big Ten and get there. Michigan is a hot team that’s playing well when the attention all year has been on Michigan State and Purdue. Or a team like Nevada. Rhode Island can make noise in the tournament, and this is a year when we could see a George Mason- or VCU-type team advance to the Final Four.”
5. Count former Longhorns wide receiver Mike Davis among those who will compete in the Spring League in Austin later this month. Davis, who scored a huge touchdown against Oklahoma in 2013, earned his degree at Texas and has been training young kids in both football and basketball. He once envisioned playing both sports for Texas.
6. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league will put out requests for proposals “soon” for the league basketball tournaments in 2021 and beyond. Will other cities bid? “I would expect they would,” he said. The league plans to hold the men’s and women’s tournaments in the same city, and I cannot imagine that not being Kansas City again. It’s the perfect host, although I gained 10 pounds from Oklahoma Joe’s ribs and Stroud’s fried chicken. Bowlsby also said he’d like to get another person from the Big 12 on the basketball selection committee because the league has not been represented for three straight years.
7. Heard Jackie Sherrill talk about the benefits of stem cell therapy and how it helped him deal with a rotator cuff injury. The former Texas A&M football coach said a lot of NFL players have gone to Cancún and taken advantage of the treatment to help with chronic pain, knee injuries and the effects of CTE. John Hunewell, vice president of marketing at Celltex Therapeutics, said, “The U.S. is behind other countries.” Sherrill said he thinks approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will come “pretty soon.”
8. Heard an interesting idea to help stop tanking in the NBA to get better chances at a higher lottery pick: Give each of the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs one pingpong ball. One team, one chance. I like it. … Speaking of not making the playoffs, there’s a chance the San Antonio Spurs could miss the postseason for the first time since 1997. The Spurs have been the most consistent sports franchise in the past quarter-century but are currently sitting in 10th place in the West.
9. Rented “The Neighbor.” Please do not follow my lead. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Gave it one duck, and only because of the red Corvette in the movie.
10. Crazy prediction: Kyler Murray, projected to be the starting quarterback for Oklahoma this fall, will consider signing a major league baseball contract this summer.
BOHLS, GOLDEN PODCAST
Catch columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden during their weekly “On Second Thought” podcasts, which pop up on Thursdays. This week’s guests are all about March Madness — Texas men’s coach Shaka Smart and American-Statesman beat writers Brian Davis and Rick Cantu.
HOW CRAZY WAS HE?
Looking back at Kirk’s crazy prediction from March 15, 2017 — that in 2017-18 Texas would win a bowl game in football, make it to the Sweet 16 in basketball and reach the College World Series in baseball. Get back to us in a couple of months.