News Wire: January 2008

Jerry Brewer writes a column in the January 20th edition of the Seattle Times discussing Tom Newell. Many of the stories are covered in Tom's blog, but also mentions some changes that happened before the season...

Displaced in China, 5,000 miles from basketball civilization, Tom Newell listened as a Pancake told him he was fired.

Newell hadn't even coached a game as the first American to lead a Chinese Basketball Association team, and here was Pancake, the 4-foot-8 translator whom Newell preferred to call Short Stack, giving him the strangest news ever.

The mother of all rich-man whimsies felled Newell, a former Sonics assistant and basketball lifer. The owner of the Jilin Northeast Tigers abruptly fired his general manager, Chinese basketball legend Sun Jun, and then rehired a former coach to replace Newell. A day later, Pancake was sent to tell Newell the team still wanted him to lead practice.

"WHAT?!?!" Newell asked.

"Coach, this is China," Pancake explained. "We do things differently here."

Brewer also details some more from Newell in his extra points blog.