Friday, June 24, 2005

'World Turned Upside Down'--Hoiberg Will Have Heart Surgery

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Fred Hoiberg--a former basketball standout at Iowa State--said he will have heart surgery Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic to correct an enlarged aortic root.

Hoiberg told the Minneapolis Star Tribune today that he should be able to play again, but he will consider retiring if his condition is life threatening.

"My world has been turned upside down,'' Hoiberg told the newspaper. "That's when priorities get set.''

Hoiberg has a wife and four children.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: They don't come any better than Hoiberg, a solid individual who was called "The Mayor" when he starred for Iowa State. We all hope everything works out fine for Fred in the operating room and that he can continue his career in the NBA].


Sophomore pitcher Ian Kennedy [Huntington Beach/La Quinta High School]) and junior catcher Jeff Clement [Marshalltown, Ia./Marshalltown High School] earned 2005 Baseball America All-America first team honors, becoming the first pair of Southern California consensus first-team All-Americans since Seth Etherton and Jack Krawczyk in 1998.

The announcement was made by the USC sports information office.

Kennedy went 12-3 this season with a 2.54 earned-run average and currently leads the nation with 158 total strikeouts [the NCAA recognizes strikeouts per nine innings as the standard]. In 117 innings this season, Kennedy allowed 85 hits, allowed 33 earned runs and walked 38 batters. He was named as the 2005 District IX Player of the Year (covering California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai'i, Arizona and Alaska) by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Pac-10 Conference Pitcher of the Year. Kennedy also earned 2005 All-America first team honors by Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA.

Clement, who was selected third overall on June 7 by the Seattle Mariners in the 2005 major league draft, led the Trojans in most offensive categories this season. He batted .348 (80-for-230) with 17 doubles, 15 home runs and 54 RBI. He also led the team in walks (44) while stealing a career-high five bases and throwing out 25 of 68 baserunners (37%).

He was a finalist for the 2005 Golden Spikes Award and is a finalist for the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award, which will be announced Wednesday in Wichita, Kansas.

For his career, Clement finished second all-time with 46 career home runs behind Mark McGwire (54). Clement also earned 2005 All-America first team honors by Collegiate Baseball and USA Today Sports Weekly, as well as NCBWA third team honors.

USC can now lay claim to 175 All-America selections during its fabled history, along with 91 first team selections. The Trojans finished the 2005 season with a 41-22 record and their fifth NCAA Super Regional appearance in the last seven years.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Thanks to former Iowan and present Californian Mark Robinson for calling my attention to the USC release. I'd like to be Jeff Clement's agent or the neighbor kid who threw him pitches during batting practice at Marshalltown High. [Maybe he'd like to repay his old batting practice pitcher with a few thousand when it's contract time with the Mariners!]