In a great sports state, Texas athletes are unsurpassed.
As long as they move to Oregon.
There's something special about the rain and mountains here that feed Texan souls, that helps them perform better than they would anywhere else.
Memo to Texas stars: If you want to outshine everyone you ever played with, or against, head to the Beaver State for some burnishing.
There's nothing like front after front of Oregon clouds rolling in to wash and shine a real star. Join the crowd and be someone special.
Greatest Blazer (All-Time): Clyde Drexler, Houston
Clyde D was the reason the Blazers didn't pick Michael Jordan? Don't blame him. He got the team to two finals, one against MJ. Jim Paxon didn't do that, and neither has anyone else.
Sure it's disappointing that Clyde didn't win a title here or make Oregon his home for life but you've got to respect a guy who won't milk his fame to the last drop.
He moved back to Texas where he was famous in college and helped his old teammate to a title by carrying the Rockets after Hakeem 'The Dream' Olajuwon went down.
Clyde 'The Glide' ended up on the original NBA Olympic Team as well as making the list of Fifty Greatest to ever play the game.
He gave Portland his best years, and that's good enough.
Greatest Blazer (Current): LaMarcus Aldridge, Dallas
Portland's Big 3 came and went, but LA is still the Big 1. He's the guy other teams would welcome to their house. Trade for him? Maybe not, but they'd hold the door open if he showed up.
Before this year no other Blazer teamed with LaMarcus as someone you'd want to build a team on, or around.
Not Gerald Wallace. Not Marcus Canby. Not a chunky point guard with every buffet on speed dial, or another with a shot so strange it makes Shawn Marion's stroke look like Ray Allen.
The good news is Aldridge motors up and down the court, so his heart issues are behind him. And he's got someone who sees when he's open and passes instead of a dark hole super star where the ball never comes out like B. Roy.
By all accounts Aldridge is the sort of role model on and off the court fans can point to and say, "That's my guy."
Greatest Duck Running Back: LaMichael James, Texarkana
This player planted roots in Oregon. He attends games he could skip with a busy pro schedule. He talks about his Duck days. Since he's a 49ers he's close enough to keep in touch, and does.
I can see James coming back to Eugene and becoming a Duck for life on the sidelines. He's shown the sort of character and guts that makes football players listen.
Who'll forget his dislocated elbow, considered by many the most painful of injuries. Yet he wrapped up and tried to get back on the field faster than doctors and coaches wanted.
What's been the news out of the Bay Area this season? Little, as in little playing time for James and little complaining about it. Is he too little for the big time NFL? Darren Sproles says no.
Best Beaver Running Back (Current): Storm Woods, Pflugerville
The last Texas running back from Corvallis currently works for the Atlanta Falcons. Woods looks like he might make a similar jump.
He may not have Jacquizz Rodgers' hair or center of gravity, but he can slip around a football field like a bar of soap in a bath tub.
In an odd twist, Storm and the Beavers played Texas in the Alamo Bowl where one of his high school teammates had a monster game. If Storm had played a similar game, the Beavers would have a new trophy in their case.
As they say about all sensational freshmen, wait until next year.
Biggest Duck Gamble: Lache Seastrunk, Temple
Why does Mr. Seastrunk have a wiki page devoted to him? Because of potential? Because of his 4,127 yards rushing in high school along with 52 touchdowns?
He's listed as a Baylor back, but no mention of his stats, as if he didn't play this year.
But he played enough to predict himself as the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. Why? From ESPN:
"I feel like there's no back who can do what I do. I know I'm the fastest back in the country. I know I'm the best back in the country. Nobody's going to work harder."
Where was this in Eugene? The Ducks could use some Heisman smack of their own.
Instead, they get:
Biggest Duck Problem: Willie Lyles, Everywhere.
"UO improperly used three recruiting or scouting services, Elite Scouting Services, New Level Athletics and Complete Scouting Services between 2008-2010 by accepting oral reports on players when only written reports and videos are permitted. Also, CSS had not provided Oregon with the NCAA mandated minimum for the number of formal reports it must provide a school in a calendar year.
In the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, Oregon used an impermissible athletic department employee to recruit.
The athletic department failed to adequately monitor the football program's use of recruiting or scouting services, and failed to adequately establish policies and procedures to monitor the football program's use of recruiting or scouting services."
With a reputation of being good with his players' moms, Willie Lyles delivers the entire package.
What he doesn't do well is understand the meaning of hush money. If he got paid $25K a month after his prize pupil Lache Seastrunk signed with the Ducks, then do the right thing and shut up. Or blow the whistle. You can't do both.
One high level laboratory in America knows how to handle recruiting problems. It's called the SEC.
Willie Lyles is a street teacher/agent who guides his students through the complicated college recruiting season.
Every sports fan knows if you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best at their game. And it's not football.
Future Texas athletes take note: The State of Oregon welcomes you, just leave the baggage behind.