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April 13, 2012

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Smalley will be among the substitute analysts for Bert Blyeven on Twins telecasts this season. Smalley’s first assignment will be the series here against the Royals April 27-29.  Then he will work road games in Anaheim and Seattle.

Josh Willingham, who has four home runs in six games, has hit more than 20 home runs four times in the big leagues since 2006.  In the first five games this season he hit three home runs and drove in six of the team’s 12 runs.  The Twins new left fielder has played first base and catcher during his professional career, but has primarily been an outfielder.

Joe Mauer homered at home yesterday for the first time since August 18, 2010.  He and Justin Morneau homered together for the first time since July 6, 2010.

Ex-Gophers football players are responding to Minnesota coach Jerry Kill’s request to assist with costs associated with the funeral of former linebacker Gary Tinsley and the expense of flying the team to Florida.  Kill reached out to ex-players asking them to consider making a donation to the University of Minnesota Foundation – Gary Tinsley Memorial Fund.

Kill’s willingness to fly the entire Gophers team to Jacksonville for tomorrow’s funeral is yet another example of the character he’s demonstrated since being named head coach in December of 2010.  The Gophers will catch an early morning flight and fly back after the funeral.

It looks like the state legislature and University of Minnesota will agree on a policy to serve alcohol in suites and also have a beer garden available to all fans at TCF Bank Stadium for Gophers football games next season.

Minnesota prep basketball authority Ken Lien emailed that Nebraska coach Tim Miles has offered 6-9 Alex Illikainen, the Grand Rapids High School freshman, a scholarship.

Hopkins High School basketball coach Ken Novak told Sports Headliners his former player Trent Lockett has been considering Baylor, Gonzaga, Iowa State and Marquette.  Lockett, who led Arizona State in scoring average last season at 13 points per game, is leaving the Sun Devils.  Novak said the 6-5 guard earned his undergraduate degree in three years at Arizona State, and will be eligible next fall to play one season for his new college team.

Hopkins senior forward Zach Stahl has offers from Northeastern University in Boston and the University of Hawaii, according to Novak.

Novak’s dad, Ken Sr., celebrated his 83rd birthday last month and is expected to be a Hopkins assistant coach again next season.  “If he’s out, I am out,” his son joked.

The older Novak is known for his energy and friendliness.  Ken Jr. said when he returned from Hawaii during spring break he found his entire yard had been raked by his father.

Kevin Thompson, a 6-1 sophomore wing who played high school basketball at Minneapolis North, has been named Dakota County Technical College’s first ever National Junior College Athletic Association Division II All-American.

1500 ESPN talk show host Patrick Reusse discussed the shooting ability of Gophers forward Rodney Williams on the air Monday and said he could beat Williams in a game of H-O-R-S-E with a week’s practice to prepare.

Former Gophers basketball coach Dan Monson, whose Long Beach State team won the Big West regular season and conference titles, turned down head coaching interest this spring from Colorado State and SMU.

The Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will honor outstanding individuals from professional and amateur football in Minnesota at the Chapter’s annual awards dinner on Sunday, April 22 at the University of St. Thomas.  Two-time Gophers All-American defensive tackle Bobby Bell will give the keynote address, and Bell’s 1960 national championship team will be honored with the Murray Warmath Legendary Team Award.

The Bobby Bell College Impact Player of the Year Award will be presented to Fritz Waldvogel, a two-time All-American who started a school record 50 games at St. Thomas. There will be other award recipients including Bruce Kruckeberg from Gustavus (scholar athlete award) and Derek Klinkner from Southwest Minnesota State (courage award), and also seven high school players for their academic-football achievements: Beau Bates (Minnetonka), Adam Bungum (Triton), David Holien (Cotter), Cavonte Johnson (Edina), Zack Moheban (Bloomington Kennedy), Sean Murphy (Nicollet) and Matthew Suek (Fergus Falls).  The event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. in the Anderson Student Center at St. Thomas.  Ticket information is available on the chapter’s website, nffminesota.org.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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