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November 25, 2014

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The Elevator: Sanford edition

Who’s going to the penthouse in local sports — and who’s getting the shaft:

GOING UP

Chopper and Pals: Sounds like an old Saturday morning cartoon, doesn’t it? When Steve “Chopper” Jones and freshmen Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins checked into the game in the second half against Nevada-Reno on Wednesday night, UNLV trailed by 12 points. When they went back to the end of the bench, the Rebels led by seven. Heavens to Murgatroyd, Snagglepuss!

Lon Kruger: There aren’t a lot of coaches willing to yank three starters from a game that was in danger of getting away — a game against a bitter in-state rival, by the way — and replace them with a walk-on and two freshman substitutes to prove a point and/or shake things up. There isn’t a button Kruger isn’t willing to push, and that’s one of the things that makes him such a good coach. Another is he doesn’t make excuses or throw his players under the Greyhound when they don’t guard the perimeter or aren’t hitting their 3’s.

Mike Sanford: On the day after he was fired, the UNLV football coach minced no words in pointing out what was wrong with the UNLV football program off the field, item by lack-of-commitment item. Whereas his superiors will be giving him a lovely parting gift — a nice buyout and his usual spot on the sidelines in the season finale against San Diego State — Sanford basically told them to take the home version of the game of “Concentration” and put it where the Sun Bowl doesn’t shine.

GOING DOWN

Mike Sanford: If he had only pointed out what was wrong with the UNLV football program item by lack-of-commitment item before he was fired, it wouldn’t have come off as bunches and bunches of sour grapes. Here’s a little whine for my 4-7 cheese.

This year’s Fight of the Century: If you paid the $54.99 ransom for the Pacquiao-Cotto fight, you probably now think spending the night tied up in the trunk of a car was the better option. But give Cotto credit. He almost went the distance against a great fighter and he didn’t drink his own urine on HBO’s 24-7, which is more than you can say for Juan Manuel Marquez before his first against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Press agents who mean well: A news release that called Green Valley’s Chad Hermansen a “retired MLB superstar” was partly right, as the inability to hit a curveball has forced the former Pittsburgh Pirates’ first-round draft pick into early retirement. But to refer to a guy who hit .195 over parts of six big league seasons a superstar is a bit of a stretch, even if he is one of ours. Anyway, he’s still a much better player than this elevator operator ever was, and he’ll be speaking about college recruiting at Palo Verde High School at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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