Nothing free for Syracuse star big man

It’s a 15-foot shot without defenders. But for Syracuse star big man Arinze Onuaku, a free throw must seem three times that far — while being triple-teamed.

Onuaku, a 6-foot-9-inch senior, is shooting 40 percent from the line this season — a marginal figure for a grade-schooler, but more than 10 percent better than he was last season.

The same player who ranked fifth in the country last year in field-goal percentage at 67 percent made 12 of his final 70 free throws.

Said Orange coach Jim Boeheim after a game when Onuaku was 1-for-9: “Now he’s really just throwing it up there. He’s not even shooting. It has no chance to go in.”

IN A GIVING MOOD — Some of the Christmas presents that Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) StarPhoenix would like to hand out:

Randy Moss: a heart transplant.

Travis Henry: a vasectomy.

Tiger Woods: a time machine.

Tom Brady: What do you get a man who has everything?

COPY EDITOR, PLEASE? — A headline on the Keene (N.H.) Sentinel Web site, and we’re not making this up: “Dead NHL player found to have head trauma, and other national sports briefs.”

HOW ABOUT A BURRITO? — A Taco Bell manager near Sandusky, Ohio, says a man who appeared drunk walked into the restaurant last week and handed him $72 for one taco.

The manager told The Associated Press that the customer, who seemed to be in his early 20s, refused to take back the money.

He must have been coming back from a Cleveland Browns game, making the taco his best value of the day.

LOSING ON TRACK, WINNING WITH FANS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver by fans for the seventh consecutive season.

Fans love him because of the uncanny way his name sounds just like his dad’s, even when he’s finishing 25th in the standings.

MOM PACKS A PUNCH — The mother of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison was charged with assault after a fight at a VFW post in Akron, Ohio, during the Browns’ upset of the Steelers.

Mildred Harrison, 62, had no comment, but the Steelers think she would be able to improve their offensive line.

THEY SAID IT — Janice Hough of, on Tiger Woods: “Woods’ popularity has fallen to 33 percent. Any lower and maybe he should think about running for public office.”

— TNT analyst Kevin McHale, on Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard‘s shot-blocking abilities: “I never got that high unless I was on a step ladder or an elevator.”

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, on today’s Browns-Chiefs game: “Petty thieves in Kansas City misdemeanor courts this week were sentenced to watch this game.”

GOING BATTY — The Green Bay (Wis.) Gamblers junior hockey team is taking heat after its coach sent three players after a bat during a game against the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Roughriders.

The players used their sticks to kill the bat, which has not sat well with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

At the least, it should have been two minutes for high-sticking and two minutes for roughing.


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