BREAKING NEWS: Turkey Tussle date switched

Just got word that the Turkey Tussle (AKA Muir vs. Pasadena) has been pushed back from a Saturday afternoon game on Nov. 15 to Friday night, Nov. 14. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Rose Bowl.

The schools got word today from CIF they cannot play on the 15th because all football games must be played by the 14th. CIF uses the weekend to crank out the CIF playoffs bracket.

So leave your sunglasses and sunscreen at home and bring your blankies and hot chocolate.

Updated: High school football player dies from injuries

(UPDATED: Thursday, 2:34 p.m.)


Above: Vinnie Rodriguez, a sophomore running back at Boron High School, died Wednesday due to head injuries suffered in a game played five days earlier. (Los Angeles Times)

By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The Boron High football team met Wednesday afternoon and decided to honor Vinnie Rodriguez the best way it knows how: by playing on.

The Bobcats voted unanimously to proceed with Friday’s road game against Lake Isabella Kern Valley after the death of Rodriguez, 16, a sophomore running back and safety who succumbed Tuesday night to head injuries suffered last Friday during a game against California School for the Deaf Riverside.

========================================

Vinnie Rodriguez, a sophomore running back and safety at Boron High, died Tuesday night at Loma Linda Medical Center from head injuries suffered last Friday during the Bobcats’ game against Riverside California School for the Deaf, reports Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.

Bolch goes on to report:

Rodriguez had been in critical condition and in intensive care since sustaining the injuries while making a tackle. He appeared to stabilize before taking a turn for the worse Tuesday night.

The Bobcats had voted to play Friday’s game against Lake Isabella Kern Valley after Rodriguez was injured, but those plans are now up in the air, Boron Principal Paul Kostopoulos said. Boron will hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser Thursday evening in the school cafeteria to help defray Rodriguez’s medical costs.

Boron Coach Todd Fink described Rodriguez as a 5-foot-5, 135-pound whirlwind who embodied the spirit of the Bobcats, a small-school team that packs a wallop.

“I guarantee anyone who’s been hit by him is not going to believe he’s 5-5, 135,” Fink said Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier this week, Boron students affixed pink and orange ribbons to a fence at the school forming a heart alongside Rodriguez’s jersey number and first initial. Below lay a bouquet of flowers, a candle, an angel figurine and a book of prayers and promises.

Standing near the tribute Tuesday, senior Laynah Fealy described Rodriguez as “hyper” and “light-hearted,” though there was nothing fluffy about his play.

It’s a sad day in high school football.

Prep Scene: Honorees, rankings and statistics


Above: Maranatha quarterback Matt Schilz put on an impressive display in the Minutemens’ last two minutes of the game last week against La Salle.

High school honorees, rankings and statistics. Compiled by Miguel A. Melendez

ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Matt Schilz
Maranatha
Football
Senior
Quarterback

Favorite hobby: Video games
Favorite musical artist: Shwayze
Favorite favorite movie: “The Replacements”
Favorite athlete: Tom Brady
Favorite food: Pizza
Accomplishments: The Kansas State-bound senior led a nine-play drive that started at Maranatha’s 21 with 2:01 left and the Minutemen trailing, 26-20. Schilz completed passes of 4, 17, 15 and 8 yards before finding an open Terell Cornell from 21 yards to lead the Minutemen over La Salle 27-26 on Friday. Schilz completed 17 of 33 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns.

Caitlyn Ward
Arcadia
Girls tennis
Senior
Singles

Favorite hobby: playing and listening to music
Favorite musical artist: Chris Brown
Favorite movie: “Pirates of the Caribbean”
Favorite athlete: James Blake
Favorite food: Sushi
Accomplishments: The senior, the Apaches’ No. 1 singles player, won 6-1, 6-0, 6-0, in a victory over Pasadena Poly last week and won two of three sets Monday to help the Apaches (2-0) edge La Canada 10-8 in a nonleague match.

HONOR ROLL

*Dietrich Riley, St. Francis: The junior rushed for 113 yards on 11 carries, including a 25-yard TD, and had an interception to lead the Golden Knights to a 54-7 victory over Arcadia.

*Marcus Graves, Muir: Caught five passes for 121 yards in a 43-14 loss to Oaks Christian.

*Vailele Peko, Alhambra: The sophomore caught three of the Moors’ four touchdown passes in a 44-28 loss to Glendale.

*Marquise Williams, Monrovia: The senior running back helped the Wildcats jump to a quick 7-0 lead after sprinting for a 70-yard touchdown run in Monrovia’s 14-6 win over Duarte in the inaugural MD Classic.

*Morgan Hatch, Temple City: The senior quarterback completed 10 of 14 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns in the Rams’ 34-0 win over Arroyo.

*Gianni Bruno-Lopez, Temple City: Caught six passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

*Scott Dooley, San Marino: Rushed for 148 yards and a TD on 20 carries, including 117 in the first half, to lead the Titans past Gabrielino, 21-0.

*Justin Sciarra, St. Francis: Completed 7 of 9 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

STAR-NEWS RANKINGS
FOOTBALL

1. St. Francis (1-0)
Golden Knights are real deal

2. Muir (1-1)
Mustangs should be applauded

3. Rosemead (1-0)
Panthers quite a strong force

4. Arcadia (1-1)
Apaches thankful for bye

5. Temple City (1-0)
Impressive shutout to start

6. San Marino (1-0)
Titans of the past returning?

7. Monrovia (1-1)
Wildcats offense staggering

8. San Gabriel (1-1)
Serra will be no walk in park

9. Maranatha (2-0)
They keep finding ways to win

10. Alhambra (0-1)
Offense can’t start late again

Thursday’s Game

South Pasadena vs. Hoover at Glendale, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Hoover); Lair (South Pasadena)

Friday’s Games

Temple City at Alhambra, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Temple City); Lair (Temple City)
Long Beach Jordan at Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Melendez (LB Jordan); Lair (Jordan)
Glendale at La Canada, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Glendale); Lair (Glendale)
San Marino at La Salle, 7 p.m. — Melendez (San Marino); Lair (La Salle)
St. Francis at Crescenta Valley, 7 p.m. — Melendez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Francis)
Muir at Venice, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
Monrovia at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Rosemead); Lair (Rosemead)
Pomona at Duarte, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Pomona); Lair (Duarte)
Keppel at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. Melendez (Keppel); Lair (Gabrielino)
Serra at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Serra); Lair (Serra)
Capistrano Valley Christian at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha); Lair (Capo Valley)
Bosco Tech vs. Gladstone at St. Matthias, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Bosco Tech); Lair (Gladstone)
Rio Hondo Prep at Brentwood, 4 p.m. — Melendez (Rio Hondo Prep); Lair (Brentwood)
Flintridge Prep vs. Villanova Prep at Occidental, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Villanova); Lair (Villanova)

Saturday’s Game

Marshall at Pasadena Poly, 2 p.m. — Melendez (Pasadena Poly); Lair (Pasadena Poly)

Volleyball: Mayfield girls ready for an encore


Above: Susan Carlson (No. 23) will be a central figure on a Mayfield High School volleyball team that is ranked No. 1 by the Star-News heading into the 2008 season.

No. 1 Mayfield sets sight on another CIF Divisional title

By Keith Lair
Staff Writer

It almost does not pay to be successful. Look at the West San Gabriel Valley area volleyball teams.

Mayfield High School won a CIF-Southern Section Division IV-AA championship. Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy was runner-up in Division I-A. Pasadena won Division II-A two years ago.

But it’s more than winning titles. Three of the four Prep League teams reached the division semifinals, including Westridge. Flintridge Sacred Heart played Mission League foe Harvard-Westlake for the title. In the Pacific League, champion Burroughs reached the quarterfinals.

As a result, all have moved up one division. The Prep League has moved into Division III-A; the Mission League into I-AA, the top division in the CIF-SS, and the Pacific League has been bumped up to II-AA.

That sends the Prep League into a division with the likes of the tougher Almont and Ocean leagues, Flintridge Sacred Heart into the lions of the beach schools, including CIF state power Mira Costa, Redondo, Newport Harbor, Long Beach Wilson and Los Alamitos, and the Pacific League against Corona del Mar, North and South Torrance and Bishop Montgomery and Inland Valley powers Redlands East Valley and Riverside Poly.

“We’ll probably have a pretty good record at the end of the year and go to CIF,” Flintridge Sacred Heart coach Shelli Orlandini said. “But for us to make the finals would be a miracle, I think. Even the semifinals is asking for a lot. I just don’t understand it.”

A look at the area’s top 10 teams:
Continue reading

Football: Star-News Top 10


Above: Maranatha football fans have something to cheer for.

There were a few shakeups…La Salle (0-2) gets dropped though they do trail right behind Alhambra who can drop if it loses badly to Temple City. However, I don’t think the Alhambra-TC game will be a blowout. Rosemead moves up one spot to No. 3 while Arcadia drops to one spot at No. 4, respectively. Temple City and San Marino make significant jumps to No. 5 and 6 from 8 and 9, respectively. San Gabriel moved from No. 10 to No. 8, the Moors dropped to No. 10 from 7 and Maranatha makes its debut in the top 10 at No. 9 after an impressive string of victories. The top 10 rankings will run in the paper on Wednesday along with the Prep Scene which includes athletes of the week and the honor roll.

So which game is this week’s Game of the Week? Cast your vote below…..

STAR-NEWS RANKINGS
FOOTBALL

1. St. Francis (1-0)
Golden Knights are real deal

2. Muir (1-1)
Mustangs should be applauded

3. Rosemead (1-0)
Panthers quite a strong force

4. Arcadia (1-1)
Apaches thankful for bye

5. Temple City (1-0)
Impressive shutout to start

6. San Marino (1-0)
Titans of the past returning?

7. Monrovia (1-1)
Wildcats offense staggering

8. San Gabriel (1-1)
Serra will be no walk in park

9. Maranatha (2-0)
They keep finding ways to win

10. Alhambra (0-1)
Offense can’t start late again


….Star Picks….That’s more like it

Sorry it took so long to post a thread today. Our server in Pasadena has been down all morning and it still is. Star-News staffers migrated to West Covina for the day and I sit in Fred Robledo’s desk for the day; he’s golfing somewhere in Vegas/Utah right now. Must be nice.

As you know, Star-News preps writer Keith Lair and I will be going head-to-head throughout the season, and I will update our records each Monday on the “Star Picks” thread.

Melendez: Last week 11-4, Overall 14-11
Lair: Last week 12-3, Overall 17-8

My bold prediction this week? Keppel breaks its 29-game losing streak on Friday at Gabrielino. I’m just going with my gut feeling. Guess the Gabrielino hype was just that, hype. Keith’s three wrong picks were Mojave (lost to Rio Hondo Prep), Alhambra (lost to Glendale) and Arroyo (lost to Temple City). My four wrong picks were Alhambra, Gabrielino, Arcadia (lost to St. Francis) and Campbell Hall (lost to Pasadena Poly).

Thursday’s Game

South Pasadena at Hoover, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Hoover); Lair (South Pasadena)

Friday’s Games

Temple City at Alhambra, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Temple City); Lair (Temple City)
Long Beach Jordan at Pasadena, 7 p.m. — Melendez (LB Jordan); Lair (Jordan)
Glendale at La Canada, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Glendale); Lair (Glendale)
San Marino at La Salle, 7 p.m. — Melendez (San Marino); Lair (La Salle)
St. Francis at Crescenta Valley, 7 p.m. — Melendez (St. Francis); Lair (St. Francis)
Muir at Venice, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Muir); Lair (Muir)
Monrovia at Rosemead, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Rosemead); Lair (Rosemead)
Pomona at Duarte, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Pomona); Lair (Duarte)
Keppel at Gabrielino, 7 p.m. Melendez (Keppel); Lair (Gabrielino)
Serra at San Gabriel, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Serra); Lair (Serra)
Capistrano Valley Christian at Maranatha, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Maranatha); Lair (Capo Valley)
Bosco Tech vs. Gladstone at St. Matthias, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Bosco Tech); Lair (Gladstone)
Rio Hondo Prep at Brentwood, 4 p.m. — Melendez (Rio Hondo Prep); Lair (Brentwood)
Flintridge Prep vs. Villanova Prep at Occidental, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Villanova); Lair (Villanova)

Saturday’s Game

Marshall at Pasadena Poly, 2 p.m. — Melendez (Pasadena Poly); Lair (Pasadena Poly)

Saturday Morning Quarterback: Matt Schilz impressive; St. Francis too powerful; TC, San Marino, Rio Hondo record shutouts! Talk your smack or cry me a river! (Updated with Duarte-Monrovia video highlights)

(UPDATED AT 12:51 A.M.)

What an amazing game. What an amazing drive. What an amazing performance by Maranatha’s Matt Schilz.

The game against La Salle wasn’t the shootout I thought it would be but WHAT A GAME it turned out to be!!!!!

When Maranatha fans look back on that night, they’ll remember Maranatha’s final drive simply as “The Comeback”.

Schilz led an improbable nine-play drive that started on Maranatha High School’s 21-yard line with 2:01 left.

That was all the time the Minutemen needed to march 81 yards for the winning touchdown — a 21-yard pass from Schilz to Terell Cornell with 14 seconds remaining that sent Maranatha (2-0) to a 27-26 victory over La Salle on Friday night at Maranatha High.

Schilz, headed to Kansas State next season, was sacked on first and 10 at the Minutemen (2-0) 21.

On the next play, the Lancers (0-2) were called for pass interference to move the ball to the 36 with 1:44 remaining.

That’s when Schilz led the frantic attack, completing passes of 4 (Daniel Kopplin), 17 (Cornell), 15 (Danny Beckwith) and 8 (Josh Jones) yards before finding Cornell in the end zone.

La Salle’s last chance came on second and 10 at its own 41, but Chase Rettig overthrew his final pass into the end zone as time expired, prompting the Maranatha home crowd to rush the field.

The nine-play, 81 yard drive shouldn’t have happened to begin with. The Lancers were hurt by penalties the entire night but the pass interference that moved the ball to the 36 was the one that hurt most.

Rettig, a junior, completed 22 of 48 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception. Kishon Sanders caught nine passes for 65 yards including a 3 yard score with 11:55 in the third quarter.

Here are some of La Salle Coach Antoine Peterson quotes that didn’t make the paper.

“I think we grew up tonight,” Peterson said. “We have to learn how to finish a ball game.”

Peterson’s thoughts on his defense and on Schilz.

“Defensively we stood up tall but just let one play away. That quarterback is a tough son of a gun. He hung in there, made the throw and the kid caught it in the end zone.”

Peterson on his assessment of the Lancers overall.

“We couldn’t get a rhythm. We couldn’t execute offensively. Defense stepped up but we let this team hang around when we should have taken care of business.”

Maranatha coach Joel Murphy quotes.

“I don’t know what to say. Every point mattered. Every play mattered. It was nice to see again Matt’s character because he knew he made two horrible mistakes. It took everything we had tonight; from the coach’s stand point and players stand point.”

Murphy on Schilz getting intercepted by Daniel Carlos who returned it for a 17 yard score.

“I don’t know if that would have changed his resolve to come back. I’ll take it. Hindsight is gonna be 20/20 but I like that I have one more point.”

Murphy on Maranatha’s inability to get the offense going in the first half.

“That’s something we’re gonna have to remedy real quick. Because we can’t do that against these kinds of teams; we’re not gonna be able to pull that out. “

During the game both Schilz and Rettig were making some pretty crazy long throws, many of which were dropped or overthrown. I think they were trying to put on a show but it made for some pretty bad football in the first half.

Rettig then opted to go with the shuffle pass in the second half, though he did connect for a couple long passes, while Schilz mostly kept throwing long-range passes that finally started getting caught.

Tony France caught five passes for 70 yards for the Lancers; Michael Alexander caught three passes including a 43-yard touchdown pass from Rettig.

Marcus Wells rushed for 74 yards on nine carries.

On the defensive front, Trent Washington and Mark Jebbia each recorded a sack for Maranatha and Nick Kennedy and Austin Hall had one, too, for La Salle.

Cornell intercepted Rettig once and Schilz was intercepted by Matt Housman, Nathaniel Ziomek and Matthew Payne.

Kudos to Maranatha’s Jake Forrester who is owed some lunch, dinner and dessert from the rest of his Minutemen teammates. Forrester was clutch in a few PATs but none more important than his final kick after Cornell’s winning TD catch with seconds remaining.

For a brief moment there was silence as Forrester took his position. The crowd erupted after he once again came through.

As MuddyWaters noted on a thread below. There was an odd moment in the game when the referees had to stop the game several times to correct the time keeper.


Above: La Salle’s Tony France played impressive. He was everywhere on defense and caught five passes for 70 yards, 44 yards being his longest.

Click here for all the games scores including schools from the Tribune and Whittier area.

Friday’s Game of the Week: Maranatha 27, La Salle 26

Friday’s Video Highlight Game of the Week: Monrovia 14, Duarte 6 (Be sure to check back Saturday morning for the highlights)

Glendale 44, Alhambra 7 — OK, what the heck happened here?
St. Francis 54, Arcadia 7 — Golden Knights proved they’re just much more athletic.
West Covina 53, Blair 0 — I really thought the Vikings would at least put up a fight.
Monrovia 14, Duarte 6 — No Jordan Canada, no victory.
Workman 42, Keppel 12 — The Aztecs just can’t catch a break.
Maranatha 27, La Salle 26 — Matt Schilz was unbelievable the last two minutes.
Azusa 42, Marshall 0 — Rough start for Rickey Pickens and the Eagles.
Oaks Christian 43, Muir 14 — Mustangs will benefit from in the long run. Count on that.
Saugus 30, Pasadena 6 — Is the ship sinking? Na, Saugus is just that good.
Pasadena Poly 28, Campbell Hall 21 — Close but a win is a win.
Rio Hondo Prep 34, Mojave 0 — The Kares are rockin’ n rollin’
San Marino 21, Gabrielino 0 — So much for the Gabrielino hype.
Temple City 34, Arroyo 0 — Nice start for Backus & Co.

Saturday’s Games with predictions

Bishop Montgomery at Bosco Tech, 1:30 p.m. — Melendez (BMontgomery); Lair (BMontgomery)
Flintridge Prep at St. Genevieve, 7 p.m. — Melendez (Flintridge Prep); Lair (St. Genevieve)

Post Game: UCLA, Ohio State crushed!

Again,

OH.

MY.

GOD.

It’s funny because people who REALLY know me know that the reporter in me (and the unbiased fan in me as well) would have known UCLA was going to have a hard time against a potent BYU offense. The reporter in me would also know that this USC team is arguably Pete Carroll’s team ever. I would have liked to see the Pac-10 fare better on Saturday.

OH.

MY.

GOD.

c’mon, I know yalll thought UCLA had NO chance but still, 59-0?!?!?!

Thursday Night Recap: Matadors, ouch!


Above: Isaac Valdez threw four touchdown passes in the first half and completed 9 of 15 passes for 224 yards to lead the Matadors over South Pas, 55-14, on Thursday night.

So yeah, San Gabriel routed South Pasadena. But the Matadors had one too many mistakes.

As our very own Keith Lair reported, the Matadors committed 13 penalties for 145 yards. There is NO WAY San Gabriel is going to win like that when they face a much more experienced and disciplined Serra team next week.

It might be a long season for Ed Smith and the Tigers. They trailed 33-0 midway through the second quarter, but give them credit for fighting like the game was scoreless.

Despite trailing 40-0, the Tigers took the second-half kickoff and marched 61 yards in 14 plays. They were stranded on the San Gabriel 11. Sophomore quarterback Conor Bednarsky completed 14 of 28 passes for 148 yards. Not bad for the newbie.

San Gabriel needed just 15 plays to take a 19-0 lead, something they were nowhere near doing against Cathedral in last week’s season-opening loss.

Coach Keith Jones told Lair:

“What happened was that we were doing well from the 20 to 20, but we were just not converting,” Jones said of last week’s game. “We needed to convert inside the 20 and we did that.”

Yeah, the Matadors did that but clearly South Pas is not on San Gabriels’ level and certainly don’t compare to Cathedral.

Serra is a team that can capitalize on San Gabriel’s miscues. Thirteen penalties? Serra will pounce on that.

On the bright side, the Matadors showed they can put points on the board. Arthur Brown ran for a 52-yard score, Marcos Villalobos caught four passes for 86 yards and returned an interception 65 yards for the score.

This will be a rebuilding season for the Tigers but some bright spots should be noted.

After Villalobos’ interception return to make it 47-0, the Tigers ran off 13 plays in a 77-yard drive, Bednarski scoring on a sneak.

Enter backup quarterback Howard Serrian who later completed a 17-yard pass to Nicholas Owens to set up a rollout run for a 3-yard score with 2 seconds to play.

The following is why I say South Pasadena coach Ed Smith is a players’ coach.

“I was encouraged by the second half,” Smith said. “I know we got blitzed in the first half, but we scored a couple of touchdowns and that was a victory for the boys.”

Hats off to you, Coach.

**
La Caada lost its season-opener at the hands of Crescenta Valley, 39-7.

Crescenta Valley had too much on defense. They stopped the 10 Spartans rushing attempts for negative yards. My oh my.

The Spartans scored on the final play of the game to deny the Falcons the shutout

La Caada used three quarterbacks who went a combined 3-for-9 for 52 yards.

“It’s a game we can build on, that’s all we can say,” La Caada coach Rich Wheeler told Star-News correspondent Nathan Cambridge.

Karsen Reedy made his first start at quarterback for the Falcons and finished 12 of 25 for 240 yards. Mike Bako led all receivers with 154 yards on eight catches. Harrison Pessy had 11 carries for 83 yards.

To La Caada’s defense, Crescenta Valley is loaded this season and will be a big surprise in the Pacific League. Good enough to beat Arcadia and challenge Muir?

Perhaps.

Randomness: Can’t sleep, I blame miguelHater

Seriously though. I went jogging when I got home from work (around 7 p.m.) and just before I completed a lap at the park my back started killing me. My shins for some reason tightened up, too.

So I’ve been up and while skimming through the channels I watched Jessica Simpson on “Late Show with David Letterman”.

She’s ditzy but isn’t she very cute?

What made me laugh was when she said, “Yeah, he’s (Romo) been throwing the pigskin really good.”

The crowd laughed, prompting Letterman to go back and ask, “What did you say?”

Cowboys fans last year blamed Jessica for some losses. Yeah, because Jessica is on the field making passes, dropping passes, missing blocks or routes. I don’t have an NFL team but maybe I’ll root for my bro’s favorite team. And Jessica’s, too.

I’ve had a few friends tell me it’ll be Cowboys-Chargers in the Super Bowl. Not sure about that after San Diego allowed that long drive and a touchdown with 2 seconds left on the clock.

Raiders vs. USC? Who cares about the RAID-AARRRRSSS?!?!

Serena Williams was on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”.

Last week she celebrated a straight-set victory over Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic, 6-4, 7-5. Jelena had no chance yet at the same time wasted so many. Serena proved to be too much; her overhead volleys were no match for Jelena who was overmatched in the second set which was not as close as the final set indicates.

Didn’t get to see much of Serena on Conan but they did show the various tennis outfits Serena has worn during her career. Nice.

I like Serena. Never met her but she seems pretty cool and is a great athlete. This was her third U.S. Open title and ninth Grand Slam singles title.

Not too shaby for coming out of da hood: straight outta Compton, a city where our family attended church for about six years on Rosecrans and Harris.

In case you’re not in the “in” crowd let me fill you in. Kanye West was arrested Thursday after a confrontation with the pappers (that’s paparazzi, folks) at LAX.

Kanye is one of my favorite rappers. Not exactly sure why he lost his cool but Kanye is a good guy, at least to me he was one time.

I covered the Lakers-Cavaliers game earlier this year and I saw Kanye there. He attends a lot of Lakers game, but at this particular game he was there to watch his bud LeBron James. Kanye sat opposite of the Cavaliers bench. I sat in the press row opposite the Lakers bench. I was literally five steps away from Kanye.

During halftime most reporters take their laptops, media guides and stack of stat sheets back to the Chick Hearn Press Room and write in a quiet room and/or refill on soda and popcorn.

Anyway, on my way back to the press room I nearly dropped my laptop while trying to open the door. But before I knew it someone opened the door for me (no thanks to the Red Coats).

It was none other than Kanye West who was headed to the VIP Room which is just past the press room.

I simply said, “Oh thanks” and he replied, “No problem man.” That was obviously a pretty cool day for me. Kanye traveled with a small posse; it was him +2.

As I’m flipping channels there’s a “Homecoming” special on MTV where Kanye surprises military veterans with a visit to their home and offers financial assistance and the whole VIP experience to one of his concerts.

Watching that and Kanye plastered all over TMZ reminded me about the day helped open the door for me at Staples Center.