It looks like a friendly neighborhood city parks department recreation facility, but local ballers know that the Fonde Rec Center is a hallowed hall for hoopers. For years NBA stars past and present have run pickup games on the center's basketball courts. The facility isn't far from the Toyota Center, so it's not uncommon to catch Rockets players running the lanes during the off-season. (Moses Malone and Steve Francis have been fixtures in the past.) Those looking to hop in on a game better bring it -- the ballin' locals and regulars dominate, and only the best can make it as a sixth man. Hoops reign here, as the center offers a free camp for kids and a city youth league. But if you're frustrated by wanting to break into a game, you can always hit the weight room -- or find peace at a tai chi class.
Who just won the Pro Staff of Greater Houston (PSGH) High School Football Sportsmanship Award? Who just sent its former coach, George Kirk, to the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor with an 89-43-5 record? The Klein High School Football team, that's who. Actually, that should be teams. Plural. The school has varsity, junior varsity and freshman Bearkat squads. The junior varsity team had the best record of the three last year, going 9-0-0, but they all did well. And being the first team ever to be acknowledged for their sportsmanship by the PSGH is a singular honor, showing that these guys not only win, they win gracefully.
Admit it -- upon watching Albert Pujols's titanic bomb off Brad Lidge in Game 5 of last year's NLCS, you had that sick feeling that you were witnessing yet another in the Astros' long history of dismal postseason choke-jobs. With the series returning to the soon-to-be-imploded Busch Stadium, the cosmic script seemed all but written for the Cards to go to one last World Series in that crumbling old hulk. Luckily for us, Roy Oswalt thought otherwise. The atmosphere at Busch was electric, and it reached a fever pitch when Pujols dug in the batter's box with a man on in the first inning. Whereupon Oswalt made the slugger look like a beer-buzzed softball hacker -- the slender pitcher uncorked a 95 mile-per-hour fastball in on Pujols's fists that had him swinging and diving out of the way at the same time. That one at-bat seemed to take the crowd out of the game and turn the series back toward the Astros -- Oswalt surrendered just three hits and one run on his way to the Astros' pennant-clinching 5-1 victory and NLCS MVP honors.
Goodrich, Texas -- about an hour north of town up in the Piney Woods of Polk County -- is little more than a wide spot in a logging trail, home to a mere 243 souls. Their high school had only 70 students, one of whom was Adrian McGowen, a five foot ten guard on the basketball team. Admittedly, the class 1A competition that Goodrich faced wasn't the stiffest, but McGowen's high school feats pretty much redefine the word "domination." On graduating last spring, McGowen left behind a legacy that includes scoring 62 points in her high school debut, a 75-point outburst in her junior year, and before it was all over, the all-time national scoring record with 5,424 points. Next year, McGowen makes the quantum leap to big-time college ball at Texas A&M, where many doubters believe she'll founder. Yeah, that's what the big-time colleges thought about Bird, too.

Best Candidate to Be the Next Hakeem Olajuwon

DeAndre Jordan

Standing just a shade under seven feet, this Jordan is not of the Michael mode. Instead, he's a shot-blocking machine, recently described by one national basketball recruiting junkie as "a black hole for runners, floaters, short jumpers and lay-up attempts" who "makes Ben Wallace look lazy and meek." Jordan, who recently announced plans to transfer from Episcopal High School for his senior season, ranks as the second-best prep center in America and plans to take his game to Texas A&M next fall.

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