Thursday, November 04, 2004

Here Are Some Things I've Always Wanted to Know

I found out something the other day that I’ve wanted to know for a couple of years.

I’d been meaning to ask Aliou Keita what his name would be if he were a pro wrestler, but always seemed to forget about it every time I got around the big guy.

But now my research on that subject has ended, thanks to Mike Mahon.

Keita says he’d be “Lou Lou” in the wrestling ring.

And that’s not all. I also found out that if Leonard Houston were on “Survivor,” his luxury item would be, “Play Station 2.”

Then there’s Brent Heemskerk. Asked what his dream job would be, Heemskerk said, “An anchor on ESPN Sports Center.”

I discovered all that stuff because Mahon had it written down when I went over to see some of the young players Drake will have on its basketball team this season.

Mahon is the school’s sports information director, and always likes to go the extra mile in an effort to help out the folks who will be writing and talking about the Bulldogs.

He handed out questionnaires to newcomers to the program, and got some interesting answers.

I mean, I’ll bet you didn’t know Heemskerk’s favorite home-cooked meal is shepherd’s pie.

I’ve been trying to stick to salmon and vegetable soup lately, so I wasn’t familiar with shepherd’s pie until I looked it up on the Internet.

There it was on Google. I’m sure Gayle Heemskerk, Brent’s mother, has her favorite shepherd’s pie recipe, but “Diana’s Kitchen” provided me with what it called “a tasty shepherd’s pie made with ground beef, mashed potatoes and seasonings.”

Some of the other ingredients were butter, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, onions, ketchup, beef broth, heavy cream, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.

Heemskerk, a 6-8, 225-pound Drake freshman forward from Grand Rapids, Mich., will also be happy to know that “Diana’s Kitchen” also has recipes for shepherd’s pie made with leftover beef.

However, as much as Heemskerk likes shepherd’s pie at home, he said his actual favorite food is Chinese.

That being the case, he’ll be right at home in Des Moines. I think we’ve got just as many Oriental restaurants here as there are in Shanghai.

Heemskerk’s favorite athlete is a football player—Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre. Interesting, huh? Maybe it’s because of the names--Brett and Brent sound a lot alike.

Heemskerk’s answer to the question about what his name would be as a pro wrestler was, “The Big Aristotle.”

Asked what the best advice he has ever been given, he said, “The more you complain, the more you find to complain about. The more you give thanks, the more you find things to be thankful for.”

When he was a little kid, Heemskerk said he pretended to be basketball’s Larry Bird. And not many people know it, but he says he loves to play croquet.

Heemskerk got on the right side of his coach when he said he said he chose Drake because, “It has excellent academics, and I wanted to play for Dr. Tom Davis.”

Keita is a 6-8, 260-pound Drake sophomore center from Dakar, Senegal. He played for Regina High School in Iowa City and transferred to Drake from Tulsa.

In answer to Mahon’s question about who he pretended to be when he was a little kid, he said, “A soccer player, kicking in the dirt in front of my house.”

Asked what the best advice he has been given, he said, “Be kind and respectful to everybody.”

He was asked who the two people would be in history that he could have dinner with, and he said, “Malcolm X and Louis Pasteur.”

Keita said not many people know it, but “I do NOT like to be in the water.”

Houston is a 6-3 freshman guard from Holland, Mich. He says his favorite food is fried chicken, his favorite musician is Jay-Z, his favorite actor is Martin Lawrence, his favorite pro team is the Detroit Pistons, his favorite pro athlete is Steve Francis and his favorite TV show is “Martin.”

Houston said that if he wins the lottery, he’ll buy a Bentley. Not a bad choice. I looked up the prices of a new Bentley Arnage, and they ranged from $199,990 to $256,990.

The person Houston would like to have a conversation with is Halle Berry, but the two people in history he’d like to have dinner with are Frederick Douglas and Michael Jordan.

Asked to name the one moment in history he wishes he could have seen, Houston said, “The civil rights movements.”

Iowa Sports Connection
Nov. 4, 2004