NAIA, D-3 and D-2 basketball offers a great product, so if you live close to one of these schools, get out there and support the program. Also I would be remiss if I didn't mention great high school basketball to see on all levels. And speaking of high school basketball, one of the great high school tournaments ever will soon be here and if you are anywhere around Portland, Oregon at the end of this month, it is a must to see a game or two.
The Les Schwab Invitational is classic event, which appears for now has found a permanent home at Liberty High School outside of Portland. I personally love this tournament, have gone to it most years since its inception and always look forward to great games. This year will especially be exciting as once again, the legendary Oak Hill Warriors will be in the field. Always fun to watch Oak Hill as many of their players go onto great college careers and often continue into the pros. I also feel it is important to recognize one of the classiest people I have ever met in sports, Tony Dorado, Nike's national manager of high school basketball, who knows more about high school basketball than anyone I know and is a big supporter of the Les Schwab.
Bottom line here, no matter what the level of basketball, get out and enjoy it, it is still an awesome sport.
OFFICIATING--- Please allow a short personal note here. As I live in Oregon and was an official in the Portland Basketball Officials Association for 25 years, retiring in 1997, I still have many friends in the Association and follow what is going on.
After the 2012-13 season, longtime PBOA commissioner Howard Mayo will retire. This coming February, the PBOA will select a new Commissioner, one year ahead of Mayo's retirement. At this time it is pleasure and honor for Craw's Corner to officially endorse Steve Scott to become the new Commissioner. While I am sure there are many good candidates running, Steve Scott is the person to move the PBOA forward. Steve is not only a friend, but I have worked with Steve on various projects and know his work ethic and dedication to officiating. He will do an awesome job.
DUCK FANS---Oregon has a great football program, with one of the best football coaches around. But it is getting a little old all the complaining that went on about the changes to Autzen Stadium and the fact that Don Essig can't say "it never rains in Autzen Stadium", in regard to the Pac-12 championship game in Eugene. Essig is a legend as a PA announcer, but Ducks, this in not an Oregon showcase, this is a showcase for the Pac-12. Your reward was getting the home field advantage and besides, I have been to Eugene when it has been raining, even during football games.
And as long as I am ranting, Pac-12 do not underestimate the knowledge and ability of sports fans. By bringing in Paul Olden to be the PA announcer for this game, once again it is your showcase, but please do not try and oversell us on things including the credentials of Olden. All we hear is this guy is the PA for the Yankees and Super Bowl. Well that is only partially right and accurate. After all, Olden has only been the Yankees PA guy since 2009 and he has not been the PA person for the Super Bowl since 2005. Lesson always, even from the great Pac-12, do not overhype the credentials of anyone.
GOLF----My friend Phil Baker, a great guy, has known Tiger Woods for since they were childhood friends. For the record, I do not know Tiger Woods and am not name dropping here, but I do respect Phil Baker. Phil has told me that he thinks Tiger is as close as he has ever been to getting his golf game back in shape and expects a big year out of him. For all golf fans, we can only hope.
More on golf, what is the deal with the slowness of the Champions, Nationwide and LPGA not having their 2012 schedules out. It is especially disappointing as I write this column on December 2nd that the LPGA does not have their schedule up. Often the LPGA feels they do not get the respect they deserve in the sports world, so here is another example to separate yourself from the rest of the "field" and once again a blown opportunity by the LPGA in my mind. I like the LPGA Tour, but is just seems like they do not get it and they might never get it when it comes to promoting your game and relating to fans. Little things matter in sports and little things turn into big successes down the road. By the way, for some great LPGA news, it is always fun to read the great blog written by @tonyjesselli. Tony is one of the best golf blog writers in the world and I really respect his work.
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