By Dialogo July 19, 2012 MOÍN, Costa Rica — The country’s National Drug Control Police seized 88 kilograms (194 pounds) of cocaine divided among 28 packages stashed in a container in this Caribbean port city on July 16, authorities said. The container, which arrived days before from Colombia, was destined for Europe after scheduled layovers in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, the National Drug Control Police said, without specifying the final port of call. The narcotics were hidden inside an insulated thermal unit of the container and were found in a joint operation by Costa Rican customs agents, Police and the Public Security Ministry. No arrests were made. [Msp.go.cr (Costa Rica), 17/08/2012; Espanol.upi.com, 17/08/2012]
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York View image | gettyimages.comAs the Milwaukee Bucks took a quick 11-4 lead in the first quarter of the Knicks’ season opener Wednesday, if you listened closely, you could hear tortured Knicks fans across the Big Apple letting out a collective groan. Missed shots, poor ball movement and unabated drives to the basket by the opposition were sure to be the portent of bad things to come for a long 82-game season.That’s life as a Knicks fan—always dreading the worst, embracing mediocrity, and forever bowing in disappointment, or disgust. It’s our burden, and we begrudgingly carry it around until the day MSG can shake off the last decade of futility, both on and off the court.In last year’s disastrous campaign the lowly Knicks managed only 17 victories—their worst record ever—but they did win more than the terrible Timberwolves, so even the smallest signs of improvement may be enough to provide fans with a tinge of hope, however fleeting it is.Phil Jackson went ahead and gutted almost the entire roster and basically started anew, save for a few players, including star forward Carmelo Anthony. For their ineptitude on the hardwood, the Knicks were awarded the fourth overall selection, which they used to draft rail-thin 20-year-old Kristaps Porzingis from Latvia, who, we’re told, boasted a deft touch despite his lanky 7-foot-3 frame. Later in the first round Jackson took Notre Dame senior point guard Jerian Grant, an athletic ball handler. Jackson then used James Dolan’s money to sign big man Robin Lopez and a slew of other bodies just to fill out the roster for the upcoming season, or so it seemed. He famously missed out on all-star LaMarcus Aldridge and failed to convince free agent center Greg Monroe to bring his many talents to the Garden. Now Knicks fans are already dreaming of Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant’s impending free agency, even though history has not been kind to the Knicks when it comes to signing MVP-caliber players on the open market.So the franchise was left with one top 15 player in Anthony and a potpourri of role players with little star power. And the selection of Porzingis, who was booed vociferously on draft night by the Knicks faithful, did little to appease a fanbase yet to wash away the stench that wafted through the Garden last season and stunk up the joint.Knicks fans can’t be criticized for sitting down and viewing Wednesday’s opener against the Bucks with hefty skepticism. Afterall, the franchise has done little to reciprocate the loyalty demonstrated by its steadfast supporters over the last dozen years. So when the Bucks took a quick seven-point lead in the first quarter, we collectively cringed.Surprisingly, the team fought back. Knicks head coach Derek Fisher replaced a number of lethargic starters with spirited reserves, who were aggressive on defense and were flying to the basket. Former second overall pick Derrick Williams, who played well in the preseason, continued to impress with a team-leading 24-point outburst. The bench, led by Williams, point guard Langston Galloway, and power forward Kyle O’Quinn, who grabbed 12 rebounds, opened up a double-digit lead that the Knicks never relinquished. Imagine that!The reserves appeared to be all over the court. They crowded passing lanes, gambled defensively to force turnovers, and swarmed to the ball.Even Porzingis contributed with 16 points and five rebounds. Porzingis, who is blessed with a lethal stroke from the perimeter but has a frail frame, showed some guts by battling in the post and frequently attacking the rim, which is encouraging to watch. But how long his body can sustain the abuse of a grueling NBA season remains to be seen.Not everyone enjoyed a fruitful night. Anthony missed 12 of 16 shots, perhaps due to constant double teams, and point guard Jose Calderon came up empty on a number of occasions.But for one night, the Knicks did display encouraging signs. But let’s not forget it was only the first game in a long season, so not even success-starved Knicks fans will let Wednesday’s 122-97 victory go to their heads. Our skepticism is too entrenched for that.A quick trip to the past would also be helpful. Last season, the Knicks opened the year by defeating LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. After that, the Knicks only captured 16 more victories.On the surface, this doesn’t look like an NBA team destined for the basement of its division. So, maybe looking back is meaningless. This is an entirely different team. But these are still the Knicks we’re talking about, and they never fail to surprise us. Or disappoint.
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by Jim LitkeIt’s time to bury the term “student-athlete.” It died at 11:42 p.m. Monday, just about the time the confetti falling from the roof of the Superdome landed on coach John Calipari’s hair and the players from Kentucky’s NBA development academy gathered at a far corner of the court to collect a trophy many of them will need a campus map just to find next year. The real joke is on college basketball, or at least the college part of it. The Kansas team the Wildcats beat handily 67-59 never had more than a puncher’s chance.“They did a great job,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said afterward. “They’re playing with pros. That didn’t hurt.”And not just any pros.Kentucky had the surefire No. 1 pick in next summer’s NBA draft in freshman Anthony Davis, who was named the game’s most outstanding player after grabbing 16 rebounds and blocking six shots, and a top-three selection in another freshman, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Sophomore Terrence Jones is a likely mid-first-round pick and three more Wildcats—freshman Marquis Teague, sophomore Doron Lamb and Darius Miller, one of only two seniors—could be playing in the pros by the time the leaves hit the ground in Lexington next fall.Say this much for Calipari: He never hides his ambition. He doesn’t have to. What amounted to a graduation ceremony for his latest class of “one-and-dones” took place in full view of NCAA President Mark Emmert, whose seat at center court was one of the best in the house. Emmert, sadly, has seen it before and is just as powerless to stop it now as he was in 2005, when a new NBA collective bargaining agreement designed to stop kids from turning pro straight out of high school inadvertently made a mockery of the college game.In the last four years, Calipari-coached teams have appeared in two championship games, the first one at Memphis in 2008. Over that same span, he’s had nine NBA first-round selections, including two of the last four players to go at No. 1, and Davis will give him the trifecta. But he’s not just ruthless as a recruiter.The Wildcats were already up 18 with little more than three minutes left in the first half, but that wasn’t enough for Calipari. Noticing that Davis wasn’t in the game, he walked to the far end of the bench, where a trainer was trying to help the freshman put his contact lenses back in. Calipari began clapping his hands and yelling, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”Seconds later, dissatisfied with the pace of the repairs, he stormed back in their direction and screamed, “Are you (kidding) me?”—only he used language we can’t reprint here.After trailing 41-27 at halftime, Self was the last guy out of the Kansas locker room, still studying the stat sheet as he started down the hallway that led back to the court. A Jayhawk fan leaned over the railing for a high-five, and almost reflexively, Self extended his left hand with the sheet still in it. He might as well have left it with the fan, since he wasn’t going to find anything on it he didn’t already know.Davis was the principal reason the Jayhawks threw up desperate rainbow shots nearly every time they ventured into the lane, and that only got worse as time slipped away. That explains their 36 percent shooting for the game, but not the beating they absorbed on the other end.After shooting 7 for 8 in a semifinal drubbing of Louisville two days ago, Davis went 1 for 10 against Kansas, but that was hardly a reflection of his contributions to the Wildcats’ offense. He started his sophomore year of high school at 6-foot-2, then grew to 6-10 by the time he was a senior. Watching him glide up the court handling the basketball like a point guard threw the Jayhawks defense into panic mode more than once.“I think it’s a joke, simply because they have four players who can bring the ball up the court,” Kansas’ Elijah Johnson said. “To have someone who can get the rebound and put it on the floor and go, that puts you on your heels more. We haven’t seen that much this year.”Neither has anyone else.Larry Brown, who mentored both Self and Calipari when he was at Kansas and has plenty of experience on pro benches, said the other day he thinks this Kentucky team could beat almost half the teams in the NBA. That’s an exaggeration, but only slightly. Davis is reed-thin and couldn’t survive the pounding he’d take playing against men whose livelihood depends on not getting pushed around. Kidd-Gilchrist turned 18 just last September and he’s not ready to play against real pros, either.But none of that is going to stop both of them from dropping by the used-bookstore back on campus to hand over the ones they’ve been carrying around like props the last nine months, then booking an agent to get them a king’s ransom when some NBA team comes calling. Calipari may be sad to see them go, but he won’t waste much time, either, recruiting their replacements. It won’t be hard“I said this a couple years ago and everybody got crazy when we had five guys drafted in the first round. This is one of the biggest moments, if not the biggest, in Kentucky history,” Calipari said.“The reason was, I knew now that other kids would look and say, ‘You got to go there.’ What I’m hoping is there’s six first-rounders on this team. We were the first program to have five, let’s have six. That’s why I’ve got to go recruiting on Friday.”And just think, you don’t even need a college degree to do that kind of math.(Jim Litke is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] and follow him at Twitter.com/Jim Litke.) CHAMPIONS—Kentucky head coach John Calipari hugs forward Anthony Davis after the NCAA college basketball championship game April 2.