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Kirk Bohls: These could be farewell stretches for Charli Collier, Greg Brown, Kai Jones

Kirk Bohls
Austin American-Statesman
Texas center Charli Collier scores over Kansas State's Ayoka Lee during their game in Austin last season. Collier is being projected by some as the possible No. 1 overall pick of this year's WNBA draft.

While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. Bye bye, Longhorns? It’s still early, but there’s a decent to good (or bad, if you're a Longhorns fan) chance that several prominent players on the Texas basketball teams are in the farewell stretches of their college careers. That especially holds for Vic Schaefer’s Charli Collier, a sure-fire All-American center who is already projected as the first pick of this year’s WNBA draft. “I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Schaefer said Tuesday. “I don’t know where she’s at in the process. I’m just trying to win a game.” It’d be a shame if the junior left even though she’s averaging 22 points and over 12 rebounds a game and has the second-most double-doubles in Division I with 13. She’s money and could become a poor woman’s Candace Parker (but not that poor because she is terrific). Schaefer can dream about her returning and combining with his star recruiting class, including the best high school backcourt tandem in the country. ... Everyone expects Greg Brown to bolt for the NBA. Shaka Smart said as much Tuesday: “Even though it’s February and even though he’s a guy that’s only gonna be here for one year, practice is so pivotal. He made a couple of plays in practice Friday that he hadn’t made all year from the standpoint of catching the ball, having phenomenal footwork, putting the ball on the floor or drawing defense and kicking to an open man.” Brown’s as athletic and explosive as they come, a tremendous leaper and finisher (preferably without the scowl) and projected as a first-rounder anywhere from 10th to Golden State (Sports Illustrated) to the Lakers at 28th (SBNation). But with three assists and 36 turnovers this year, he's not going to be anybody's point guard. He could join sophomore Kai Jones in the first round because Jones is long and quick and can shoot the 3. Jones is listed anywhere from 10th (SB Nation) to 24th (NBA Add that with the fact Matt Coleman and Jericho Sims are seniors while Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey are juniors, and it adds to the sense of urgency to go deep in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Baseball: Round Rock Express, Texas Rangers formalize 10-year agreement for affiliation

2. Hello again, Rangers. The good news is that even though the Houston Astros have vacated Round Rock, the Texas Rangers are returning to their former Triple-A site at Dell Diamond. Some might say the bad news is the Rangers are returning, given their 24th ranking by MLB Pipeline and their absence from the MLB playoffs since 2016. But 43 major-leaguers played in Round Rock before ascending to the Rangers. That said, I’m glad baseball is sticking around so fans can see the likes of former Texas Tech third baseman Josh Jung and second baseman Justin Foscue. Mike Daly, the Rangers’ assistant GM, said, “We have some really good talent at some of the lower levels that are working their way up. They’re talented, smart, hungry players, and we feel they’ll ultimately make an impact in Arlington.” ... MLB is smart to have gone to 10-year deals unlike the two- to four-year agreements previously that held these minor-league cities hostage to the whims of the big-league clubs. Longer deals are healthier for both sides and offer a likelihood of more long-term improvements like the Round Rock Express has done in terms of remodeled seating and LED lighting to better simulate MLB environments. “The game has really changed,” said Reid Ryan, CEO of Ryan-Sanders, which owns the Express. “They want to put some real infrastructure into the facility to measure players and to help the development process instead of this two to four-year dance. We’ve really outgrown that.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. had a big game in the Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs but also has drawn criticism for his on-field celebration and taunting penalty.

3. Tough on taunting. It’s just me, but I hate taunting. Think it has no place in the game. I understand Tyreek Hill is a champion-level taunter and probably deserved to get the treatment from Tampa Bay’s Antoine Winfield Jr., but I hate excessive taunting in an opponent’s face. What kind of lesson does that send? I'm all for celebrations. Tom Brady was even more guilty of this in his ugly exchange with Tyrann Mathieu. I get sick of all the talking heads who say it’s the biggest game of the year, the players should be allowed to celebrate great plays, blah, blah, blah. Celebrate, not taunt. Is that the message you want to be sending to college and high school athletes? I don’t think so.

4. Give him a chance. I know a lot of people hate all the unrest over the paucity of Black head coaches in the NFL. But Todd Bowles killed it as the Bucs’ defensive coordinator and deserved to be the true Super Bowl MVP. If not Bowles, I would have given the collective award to Tampa Bay’s front four, which dominated the Chiefs’ offensive line and were the main reason Patrick Mahomes wasn’t able to score a single touchdown, despite only five blitzes. … Had Bowles been the Texans head coach a year ago, I’m betting Houston doesn’t squander a 24-0 first-half lead over Kansas City in the playoffs.

5. Ad-mirable. For me, the top five Super Bowl commercials were, in order, Bud Light’s lemon deluge, Paramount+’s celebrity-crammed top of the mountain with Beavis & Butthead (“she said crack”), Tide’s Jason Alexander abused hoodie, the Toyota tear-jerker with Siberian orphan and 13-time Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Long, and Will Ferrell’s “No way, Norway.” Honorable mention goes to Flat Matthew McConaughey’s 3-D Doritos ad, understudies Drake and Paul Rudd in the State Farm spot; and John Travolta’s Lawn Care ads although it took me a while to recognize him.

Football: Should Super Bowl MVP Trophy be renamed for Tom Brady?

Texas coach Shaka Smart talks to his team during a timeout during their game against Iowa State on Jan. 5. The Longhorns started the season 10-1 but have lost four of their last five games.

6. Slip, slipping away. Or just a momentary blip in an otherwise really outstanding men's basketball season? So which Texas is real as it approached Tuesday night’s game against league patsy Kansas State? The one that went 10-1, rose to No. 4 in the country and looked like a worthy contender of Baylor's for the Big 12 throne or the team that has lost four of five and has trouble finishing games? I can’t help but wonder why Shaka didn’t try something different in the meltdown at Stillwater. Why not stick Jase Febres in the game, especially late because no one else could make a basket? Or Kamaka Hepa? Even if they are defensive liabilities. Or play a zone like Oklahoma State did even though that’s a four-letter word to Shaka. “You know a guy like Jase or Kamaka, maybe they could have come in the game and helped us make some shots,” Smart said Monday. The bottom line is try something, adjust, throw in the kitchen sink. The hope is the setback in Stillwater in one of the worst shooting exhibitions these eyes have ever seen represents only a temporary blow and doesn’t signal a pattern of slippage. Otherwise, Shaka's seat gets hot again.

7. Classmates. Odd that Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson both were voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the same weekend. Good friend Larry Carlson has never forgiven me for voting for the Michigan cornerback over the Tennessee quarterback for the Heisman Trophy in 1997. Manning finished second, followed by Washington State's Ryan Leaf, Marshall's Randy Moss and Texas' Ricky Williams. Talk about a star-studded field.

Baseball: Roger Clemens' son Kacy, friend awarded over $3 million in lawsuit against a Houston bar

8. Scattershooting. While wondering whatever happened to Texas women’s basketball star Nina Norman. Caught up with last week’s target, former Texas All-American offensive lineman Bob Simmons, who played eight years in the NFL before retiring from a 35-year career in medical sales. He and his wife Marsha, a former UT cheerleader, have three daughters, live in Dallas and have had season tickets to Longhorns football games since 1988 and has missed just one Texas-OU game. Simmons still recalls getting called up to the varsity as a freshman in 1972 and being told by line coach Willie Zapalac — a former A&M teammate of Bob’s father, whose nickname was “Bootsy” — “Don’t screw it up, Little Bootsy.” His veteran linemates like Jerry Sisemore gave him holy hell for that, and Bob’s been called “Boots” ever since. Bob proudly wears his T Ring every day.

9. On the couch: I so wanted to love “News of the World” about a frontiersman news reader (Tom Hanks) who's transporting a young girl to a new home after she’d been kidnapped by Indians. Just too plodding. Gave it five ducks.

10. Crazy prediction: The Kansas City Chiefs will go undefeated next season.