SIDELINE SLANTS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JOE KLEINSASSER
Do you believe in miracles? I mean, what are the odds that a new family with two Division I talented teens will move into Marion County?

Just this past Monday I learned about a family moving here that is sure to create more than a little stir. I’m not a proponent of spreading rumors, but I trust my very reliable source.

Here’s the deal. John and Jean Thompson will move from Seattle to Kansas in early June because of a job transfer. No one knows for sure where they’ll settle, but believe it or not, my source says they are leaning toward Marion or Hillsboro.

Everyone assumed the Thompsons would settle in Wichita, but they are tired of the big-city rat race, and they would rather live in a small, rural community.

The oldest son, John Jr., will be a junior in high school. I’m told the kid can flat out play. It’s hard to say where he’ll go to college, but schools like Stanford, UCLA, Gonzaga and Arizona are expressing interest.

John Jr. is 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 230 pounds. He may grow another inch, but he’s already a man among boys. He’s extremely athletic and runs well. He has an above-average vertical leap as well. As a sophomore in a Seattle high school, he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. Imagine what he could do for Marion or Hillsboro.

In addition, John Jr. is considered to be an above-average student.

This is great news in and of itself, but John Jr. has a younger sister, Tammy, who already plays a lot like a taller version of K-State’s Laurie Koehn. Tammy is already attracting attention from such women’s college programs as Tennessee and Connecticut. Those are high expectations for someone who will only be a high school sophomore next year.

As a freshman, Tammy averaged 12 points per game on the high school varsity team.

Tammy is 6 feet 1 inch tall. I’m told that she runs like a deer, is very quick, has long arms and a soft shooting touch, with a range of up to 20 feet. She also can put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket.

She jumps well enough to touch the rim. No foolin’!

As much as I believe in miracles, I still thought this sounded too good to be true. So I again asked my source about the accuracy of the information. He assured me that he had this information from a close, personal friend in Seattle.

If this story is true, think about the potential free publicity. Imagine how many times TV stations will be in Hillsboro or Marion to get footage of these rising stars. Think about how much better our coaches will become when they have this kind of talent on the floor.

The question remains, where will this family finally settle? Do you suppose there will be a little “friendly” competition to try and land these big-time athletes? How far will Hillsboro and Marion go to have this family come to their town?

There are bound to be a few disgruntled and, dare I say, envious souls who won’t be pleased that the Thompsons didn’t pick their city. They will say that John and Tammy are keeping your own local talent from seeing much court time. There will be some cynics who say that anyone can coach and win with that kind of talent.

Maybe the naysayers are right. Maybe the Thompsons aren’t good for us.

The competition to land this family may become fierce. It may needlessly escalate the friendly rivalry into bitterness between our fine citizens.

Maybe we shouldn’t throw out the welcome mat. Or, maybe the family should settle somewhere between the two towns and send the son to one school and the daughter to the other, just to keep things balanced.

Maybe I’ve spent more time worrying about this than I should, but if this story were true these questions would be worth pondering.

But enough is enough. In the spirit of the season-APRIL FOOLS’.

And now you know the rest of the story.

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