Coaches Join Auction To Help Katrina Victims

Coaches, in the college basketball world and beyond, are leanding their efforts to help those most affected by Hurricane Katrina. Seth Greenberg, Joe Dwyer and Angela Lento have been leading the charge and others have been quick to follow that lead.

There are cynics who would say that the only way to get a large number of college basketball coaches to agree, or work together, would be if it were to involve something that benefited them, or their respective programs, collectively.

Yes, cynics might say that.

But there's no way to cast a suspicious eye on the collective endeavor of college basketball coaches – and many of their brethren in other sports – in response to the national tragedy wreaked upon the Gulf Coast region by Hurricane Katrina.

AllCoachesCare.com, the foundation for which was laid by Virginia Tech basketball coach Seth Greenberg, along with Angela Lento and Joe Dwyer (AllCoaches.com and The College Insider.com), is a website/organization put in place to corral the efforts of coaches and athletes to raise money for victims of the hurricane, in large part via an on-line auction that gets under way Wednesday.

There is already a multitude of items – and "opportunities" – that have been posted on the website and open for bids.

My favorites and some of those likely to fetch the priciest bids:

*The "ultimate Texas Tech basketball experience". Oh, yeah! We're talking traveling with the Red Raiders to the 2006 Big 12 Tournament in Dallas (March 9-12), along with a pair of tickets to the tournament and a room for two at the team's hotel in Dallas. And there has got to be a little interaction with The Man himself – Bob Knight – right?

*A winner and two of his or her guests will have the opportunity to play a round of golf at Pinehurst No. 2 (home to the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Open Championships) in May of next year with . . . Roy Williams!

Just a hunch: There will be a few bids coming from North Carolina on this one.

*Live The Pac-10 Experience, with Tim Floyd and his USC Trojans. Check this out: Attend team meetings and practices the week of the Pac-10 Tournament (at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and stay with the team in its hotel, eat with the team at its pre-game meal and get four tickets to the tournament. It's not listed on the website but I'm guessing, that if you do a little coaxing, Floyd – or someone on his staff – will swing you by Heritage Hall on campus, where you can get an up-close-and-personal peek at the replicas of the Heisman Trophies (won by Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charlie White, Marcus Allen, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart . . . and, perhaps come December, Reggie Bush).

There are plenty of other goodies on the site, too, and more are expected to be added. All funds raised via the auction will be forwarded to Habitat For Humanity (www.habitat.org), the non-profit organization that provides housing for low-income families.

Greenberg, for whom the term "energetic" will do just fine as an adjective, said he was moved to action when the family of one of his players (forward Deron Washington) was displaced from New Orleans as a result of the hurricane.

He got in touch with Dwyer and Lento, who put the website together and helped him reach out to coaches across the country to get involved.

It didn't take a lot of coaxing.

And they didn't limit their pursuit of participants to just their favorite sport.

"How can you not want to be involved?" Greenberg asked. ``As coaches and athletes, we're constantly stressing the word ‘teamwork'. What better to demonstrate it? And what is a better example of coaches putting aside any differences for a good cause?" BOUNCING AROUND THE COUNTRY:

*Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) and Jim Calhoun (Connecticut) were the headliners during the Hall of Fame Inductions in Springfield, Mass., Saturday.

But Hubie Brown, from the perspective of most NBA, college and high school coaches I know, was every bit as worthy an inductee.

He was a coach with few peers (as his recent stint with the Memphis Grizzlies demonstrated) and he's still the greatest on-air basketball analyst – NBA or college – to ever work on television. Who – coaches included – doesn't gain at least a bit more insight into the nuances of the game while listening to a broadcast he is working?

If you ever have the opportunity, don't pass on the chance to listen to him lecture at a coaching clinic. The guy is mesmerizing.

*Three Pac-10 Conference programs, Arizona, Stanford and Washington, are well on to their way to seeing their November signing classes being rated among a consensus of the national Top 10.

Washington picked up a commitment from 6-foot-7 forward Quincy Pondexter (Fresno, Calif., San Joaquin Memorial), who turned down opportunities to sign with Connecticut and Memphis and seems the logical replacement for Bobby Jones in Coach Lorenzo Romar's lineup in 2006-07.

The Huskies also have a commitment from one of the two or three best guard prospects in the West Class of 2006 (Adrian Oliver of Modesto Christian in California) and are finalists for the best player in the West, 6-11 Spencer Hawes (Seattle Prep), and the best shooter, Phil Nelson of McNary in Keizer, Ore. Hawes has narrowed his choices to Washington, North Carolina and Stanford; Nelson to the Huskies, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech and Oregon.

Stanford has commitments from the biggest and most dynamic set of twins in amateur basketball, Brook and Robin Lopez (San Joaquin Memorial), as well as 6-9 Will Paul (Corpus Christi, Texas, Callahen).

Arizona has the best "athlete" in the national basketball Class of 2006 in 6-7 Chase Budinger (Carlsbad, Calif., La Costa Canyon), along with now-taken-for-granted point guard Nic Wise (Kingwood, Texas, High).

The Wildcats are scheduled to get the first "official" visit out of 6-8 Lance Thomas (Newark, N.J., St. Benedict Prep) this weekend.

An April inductee into the USBWA Hall of Fame, Frank Burlison is Scout.com's National Basketball Expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison's pieces at www.FrankHoops.com.

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