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Wednesday, June 25, 1997

Mavs pay on draft day for bad deal last year

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AP Sports Writer
DALLAS, June 25 -- With the sixth pick in today's NBA draft, Don Nelson
could find the exact player needed to begin turning around the Dallas
Mavericks. Problem is, the pick was traded before he was hired.

Instead, the 15th player taken in the draft will be Nelson's first as
the Mavericks general manager. He'll also have the 35th choice in a
draft many say is basically a crapshoot after slam-dunk No. 1 Tim

Dallas' biggest needs are for a small forward and a backup center.
However, coming off a 24-58 season that kept the Mavericks out of the
playoffs for the seventh straight year, the team could use help

``We like 17 players and we're picking 15th,'' Nelson said. ``Unless I
find a way to really screw up, we'll get one of them.''

Nelson didn't screw up his drafts for Golden State from 1989-92. Without
a pick higher than 11 and one of them going as low as 24, he took future
All-Stars Tim Hardaway, Latrell Sprewell, Chris Gatling and Tyrone Hill.

Speculation has the Mavericks eyeing San Jose State's Olivier Saint-Jean
and Providence forward Austin Croshere and Tennessee-Chattanooga's
Johnny Taylor. Nelson also may throw a curve and try bulking up the
frontcourt with Tulane's Jerald Honeycutt or Cal-State Bakersfield's
Johnny Taylor.

Nelson is notoriously tight-lipped about his decision once he makes it.
But he also makes it clear that the choice is his, for better or worse.

``My scouts have always done the dirty work. I've just been the one not
afraid to pull the chain,'' Nelson said. ``My philosophy is simple --
don't be afraid to take a guy you like no matter where you have to take

While the Mavericks haven't picked this low since 1990, all those years
of higher picks haven't done much. Seven top-12 picks since 1989 have
resulted in zero playoff wins for Dallas. Last year's top choice, Samaki
Walker, is the only one still with the team.

The Mavericks should've had the No. 6 pick this year, but Nelson's
predecessors gave it to the Boston Celtics last summer for Eric
Montross, mistakenly believing he was exactly what Dallas needed to make
the playoffs. They were so sure of it, they didn't even seek lottery
protection, a common step that would've let the Mavericks keep the pick
for several years if it was among the top 13.

Ironically, the No. 15 pick Dallas will be using began as Minnesota's,
but remained with the Timberwolves for two years because of lottery
protection. The Mavericks gave up Cherokee Parks last summer to remove
the lottery protection, only to see the Timberwolves make the playoffs
and avoid the lottery anyway.

The track record of players taken 15th over the last 10 years isn't
overwhelming. The most notable picks there include Dell Curry (1986), Anthony Peeler (1992) and Brent Barry (1995).

Angels send Rangers to 7th straight defeat

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ARLINGTON, Texas, June 25 (AP) -- The Texas Rangers have sprung a leak,
falling under .500 for the first time since they were 4-5 on April 14.

Tony Phillips of the Anaheim Angels has seen a lot of baseball over his
15 major league seasons, and Phillips thinks he knows what's wrong with
the Rangers, who dropped their seventh straight with Tuesday night's 7-6
loss to the Angels.

Phillips thinks the Rangers (36-37) made a mistake when they let
shortstop Kevin Elster and center fielder Darryl Hamilton move on via
free agency.

``They're missing Elster and Hamilton,'' Phillips said. ``They didn't
replace them. It's just not the same. You can't take away 99 RBIs from
their shortstop and a .300 hitting outfielder. It can't be the same.''

One-run losses continue to plague the Rangers, defending AL West
champions. Texas is 5-16 in one-run games after Craig Grebeck's one-out
RBI double in the ninth off relief ace John Wetteland snapped a tie.

Five of the seven losses in the current Texas skid have come by a single

``I've been in this game for 30 years and I've never had a feeling like
I have in my stomach right now,'' Rangers manager Johnny Oates said.
``It's going to take a few hours for it to go away. It's something
different every single night. I'm at a loss for words.''

On Tuesday, the Rangers' defense and relief pitching were the culprits
as the Angels claimed their sixth consecutive victory.

Texas committed three errors and has nine errors in its last four games.

``We capitalized on all their mistakes,'' Phillips said. ``The key to
getting out of a bad streak is to play hard every day for nine innings.
We've been through it here and we battled through. Texas is going to
have to battle through their situation.''

Meanwhile, the Rangers relievers blew their fourth straight save
opportunity and are 3-for-9 in June save chances.

``I couldn't find my release point the entire time I was out there,''
Wetteland said. ``My warmups were even high.''

Luis Alicea doubled with one out in the ninth off loser Xavier Hernandez
(0-1), and Grebeck followed with a double off Wetteland down the
left-field line to score Alicea.

Rich DeLucia (6-2) pitched one-third of an inning to pick up the
victory, and Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

The victory moved Anaheim to 16-10 in one-run games.

``We've got a lot of heart, a lot of fight,'' Percival said.

The Angels moved in front 6-4 with a three-run seventh. Darin Erstad's
pinch RBI single off Hernandez with the bases loaded tied the game at 4.
Phillips' forceout grounder knocked in the tie-breaking run and another
run scored on a throwing error by Rangers shortstop Benji Gil.

But the Rangers rallied for a run in the seventh on Juan Gonzalez's RBI
single, then tied it at 6-6 in the eighth on an RBI pinch single by Lee

Texas lost starter Ken Hill in the fourth when he was struck in the
right shin by a line drive off the bat of Garret Anderson. Hill was
helped off the field by team trainers and was taken for X-rays, which
were negative.

``I got hit pretty good,'' Hill said. ``Right now I'm just sore. I'll
take it one day at a time.''

Notes: Umpire Tim Tschida was ill and missed the game. The umpires
worked with a three-man crew. ... Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez had
four hits to match his career high. Rodriguez has a league-leading 31
multi-hit game. ... At the request of Rangers team president Tom
Schieffer, two pet llamas were brought in by local handlers to stand
around the batting cage while the Rangers took their swings prior to the
game. Llamas, Schieffer explained, are a sign of good luck in Peru. ...
Angels outfielder Jim Edmonds was doubtful for today's game with an
injured right knee. Infielder Jack Howell was also doubtful with a strained groin.

Cantaloupe Festival fun run
seeking entries for Saturday

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PECOS, June 25 -- Entries are being sought for Saturday's Pecos
Cantaloupe Festival three-mile fun run.

Entry fee is $10 per person, and the race will begin at 8 a.m. Satur¬
day at Pecos High School. It will travel through the downtown Pecos
area, and finish up at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Age groups for the race will be men and women ages 19 ad under, 20-29,
30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60 and older. Water will be provided along the
race course, and medical personnel will be stationed at the finish line.

For further information, contact Pecos High School track coach Mike
Farrell at 447-7220 or 447-6047.

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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