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Kings are worthy of cheers, finally

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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It’s usually tough to get excited about a basketball team that is seven games under .500 and is basically out of the playoff picture in early January.
But Sacramento Kings fans are smart enough to know that they have a team worthy of their enthusiasm, finally. It’s hard to comprehend, considering the disarray the Kings were in at this time a year ago.
The great thing about basketball is, the addition or subtraction of one or two players can make all the difference. The 2009 Kings draft may go down as one of Geoff Petrie’s greatest moments in a career that has been filled with shrewd moves.
The selection of Tyreke Evans seems like an obvious choice now. But last June, many Kings fans (my hand is raised) were clamoring for Ricky Rubio. Evans is now the overwhelming early favorite for Rookie of the Year while Rubio may not play in the U.S. for another two seasons.
Omri Casspi looks like a young Hedo Turkoglu, only he rebounds better and is more fun to watch. As long as we’re drawing comparisons to former Kings, Jon Brockman looks like a “Bench Mob” era Scot Pollard.
Sergio Rodriguez is a terrific addition at point guard and even Beno Udrih is showing signs of life after his listless 2008-09 campaign.
Coach Paul Westphal has pushed all the right buttons this season, but his biggest challenge will come in the next few weeks as Kevin Martin works back into shape. Can Evans and Martin be an effective offensive tandem? Will anyone else on the court get a shot off? Who will the Kings turn to in crunch time?
The Kings can certainly use some more offensive firepower and Martin (averaging 30 points per game before he got hurt) certainly can provide that. But it will be interesting to see if the unselfish play and balanced offense will continue with another shoot-first guard on the floor.
Regardless of how Martin’s return transpires, it’s finally fun to be a Kings fan once again.

Del Oro High will once again host the Common Good Classic next weekend, showcasing some of the region’s top talent on the basketball court.
The third annual event will be held Saturday and Monday, Jan. 18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) with seven games scheduled each day.
The Golden Eagle girls will face Sacramento power St. Francis on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. followed by the Del Oro boys’ showdown with Sheldon.
Highlighting Monday’s action is a huge girls showdown between No. 1 nationally ranked St. Mary’s of Stockton and Bay Area power Archbishop Mitty at 5 p.m.
Monday’s finale will feature the Folsom boys versus Sacramento at 8 p.m.
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Look out for the Colfax High girls as a darkhorse in the Pioneer Valley League this season. The Falcons started slow and their record was far from sparkling when league play began last week. But Colfax coach Dave Champbell has some steady guards in K.C. Capuchino, April Littlejohn and Cassandra Campbell. Forwards Michelle Walker and Audrey Lewis are undersized, but tough.
Campbell’s first foray into the PVL gauntlet came against Bear River and his team came up with it’s best performance of the season.
“It’s an atmosphere I love to coach in,” Campbell said. “The gym was packed, we’re playing our rival, it was fun. It was a great atmosphere for both teams and fortunately we came out on the upside.”
Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Journal.