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`TWISTED' TEAM MONIKERS CREATE THOUGHT-PROVOKING IMAGES OF ROUNDBALLERS

Wednesday night's welcome-party festivities will be replaced by action as the Coca-Cola/Utah Jazz/Deseret News Roundball Ruckus gets under way tonight at the 49th Street Galleria.

The tourney, which attracted more than 800 3-on-3 team entries, concludes Saturday. In addition to the hundreds of games being played in numerous divisions, Saturday will also feature individual competition - shooting, dunking etc.There's the usual number of creative team names. Perhaps none can match the batch in this 6-foot-and-under division, however. It's topped off by "Please Don't Hurt Us." Other names include, "Blacktop Slop," "Certified Water Boys," "Stray Dogs" and "Twisted Blister." Do you get the idea these people have a self-esteem problem? Will they all be able to lose all their games?

Contrast the above with the following group: "Lords of the Boards," "Blacktop Bruisers," "Rulers of the Rim," "Parking Lot Predators." Let's see, when someone says, "I'd knock down my grandmother if she was between me and the basket," would that likely reflect this group or the first one? Is there a raw meat snack booth at the Galleria?

And, no, the team named "Desert Storm" on the program does not consist of hardened Marines fresh from the Persian Gulf. It's comprised of some mild-mannered newspaper reporters who wouldn't know a Light Armored Vehicle from a Buick. The team is really named "Deseret" Storm as a play on words for the paper they represent - the Deseret News. The people in charge of the scheduling obviously thought a spelling error had been made. Still, Desert Storm is better than "Dessert" Storm, which is how some people address the paper when sending news releases: to the "Dessert News."

Other creative/intriguing names include:

"Pass is a 4-Letter Word," "Every Mother's Nightmare," "Phi Runna Gunna," "Mongolian Pancakes," "Sky King and the Lost Plane," "Three Babies and One Old Man," "Elizabeth Taylor's Dieticians," "Off Target" and "Rigorous Morts plus One."