Answering our readers' questions

By Steve Sell
December 30, 2014

Cleaning out the end-of-the-year mailbag, answering all your questions with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

• Q — What are your impressions of the McPherson High boys through five basketball games?

• A — I’ve been doing this a long, long time and I can’t remember a year where I’m so excited to watch a team play. The first halves against Winfield and Archbishop O’Hara were as good as I’ve seen dating back to the 1991 team, still my gold standard. Now with the return of Spenser Wine from shoulder surgery, the Bullpups will be even stronger. Let’s just say I think it’s going to take a great team to beat the Bullpups, or a night where everybody is off, which I don't see happening. They’re just too talented and too deep.

• Q — And the girls?

• A — Kind of the same thing, but for a different reason. I’ll be honest, I was thinking maybe 10 to 12 wins before the season, but the infusion of young talent and the improvement of the existing players has been a nice blend. This team has come light-years in five weeks and I love watching freshman Taylor Robertson play. She is going to be something special as she’s so poised and skilled.

• Q — What is your impression of the New Year’s Day bowl games?

• A — In the old days, I watched football on Jan. 1 from start to finish. But then college football started to space out the big-game matchups over a period of days. Now, though, we’re back to having a feast. We have the two national championship semifinals to end the day, with the Rose Bowl matching Florida State against Oregon, while Alabama and Ohio State wrap things up in the Sugar Bowl. I’m also interested in seeing the Baylor-Michigan State game to see how the Bears play after being snubbed. 

• Q — How will Kansas State do against UCLA in the Alamo Bowl?

• A — I saw where UCLA is a mere 1-point favorite, but I think Kansas State has a unique offense that will give the Bruins fits. Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett are as dynamic a combination as there is in the country. Give the 'Cats the edge.

• Q — Speaking of Kansas State, what’s going on with the Wildcats' basketball team? It couldn’t even beat a 2-9 Texas Southern team at home.

• A — I am totally baffled on the developments in Manhattan. I really thought the Wildcats could be a Top 3 team in the Big 12, but they’ll certainly have to play better than what they’ve shown. It looks to me it’s a team that really struggles to score the basketball and Marcus Foster hasn’t seemed like Marcus Foster.

• Q — How far can you see the Kansas Jayhawks going in the NCAA Tournament? 

• A — I think the Sweet 16 is about it. Kansas suffers from a lack of size and outside shooting. The injury to backup point guard Devonte Graham has been devastating as it puts a lot of pressure on Frank Mason. Perry Ellis has regressed from last year and quite honestly he looks as though he’s going through the motions and doesn’t play with the same intensity. People seem to forget this is a team comprised mainly of sophomores and freshmen. These are young kids. And I also think too much stock was put in the players’ rankings out of high school. KU has done its best with players in the 25-50 range, not the 1-25 range.

• Q — Do you think there are rumblings about Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops' security after the Sooners mailed it in during a desultory 40-6 bowl game loss to Clemson?

• A — My sister actually asked this one. “Big Game Bob” regained some of his luster last year when the Sooners upset Alabama in their bowl game, but he didn’t have his team ready to play on Monday. It didn’t hurt Clemson that its defensive coordinator Brent Venables knows the Sooners like the back of his hand after being Stoops’ top assistant for many years. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if BGB shakes up his staff as an 8-5 record is very un-Oklahoma like.

• Q — We’re about six weeks away from spring training and most of the top free agents have been picked over except for James Shields and Max Scherzer. Do you think the Royals, with their seemingly positive offseason moves, can go back to the World Series?

• A — Mark it down right now. They won’t be in the World Series in 2015. Everything fell just right for them to make it in 2014 and with the loss of James Shields, that’s a big step back both on and off the field. I liked their offseason moves, especially Edinson Volquez and Kris Medlen (he could be a second-half surprise because he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery). What the Royals really need if they want to be in the hunt is for the core group to be better. When you think about it, only Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar exceeded expectations. Salvy Perez and Omar Infante were good until August, while Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were sub-standard. The Royals need for newcomer Alex Rios to find his MIA power stroke and provide about 15-20 homers.

• Q — Do you think you’ll ever beat Craig Corrigan in golf again? (as submitted by Craig Corrigan)

• A — I’ll admit my golf game cratered last summer. I remember when anything 76 or over at Turkey Creek was considered sub-standard in my mind. Now I would welcome that score. There was a time when my side of the ledger was filled with numerous marks in the “W” column while his marks were on the “L” side. But Mr. Corrigan literally used me as a punching bag last year. I have rededicated myself to getting better this year and I have him squarely in my sights.