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Russell's confidence among `big' items

YOU HAVE TO give Bryon Russell bonus points for confidence. After signing a five-year deal with the Jazz this summer, he announced he will be the team's star once Karl Malone and John Stockton are gone. At training camp last week, he went on to predict a long and prosperous career on the All-Star team.

Asked if he can make as many All-Star appearances as Stockton and Malone, he replied, "Sure I can."He continued, "I think I'm the best 3-man (small forward) in the West."

Strong words for someone who hasn't been on any All-Star teams yet. But as Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Deion Sanders, etc., showed, talking the talk can be a pretty good precursor to walking the walk.

Still, if it's all the same to you, Bryon, we'll check back in a decade.

SIZABLE PROBLEM: Nobody's saying he needs to lose weight, but what gives with 6-6, 355-pound Texas tackle Leonard Davis and elevators?

Davis and nine others spent 30 minutes recently in a campus elevator that got stuck between floors. A similar incident occurred during his recruiting trip to Baylor last year.

We're not saying he's too big, but maybe they should put it to the test: Try prying open the doors and tossing out a donut. The elevator should be running in no time.

SIZABLE PROBLEM II: Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Rosen-bloom: "The Bulls re-signed massive center Thomas Hamilton. The hulking former King High School star supposedly is 30 pounds lighter, give or take an area code."

SIZABLE PROBLEM III: Then there's this report in the New York Daily News. New York radio host Mike Francesa, upon seeing former 49ers lineman Randy Cross, said, "R.C., you lost a lot of weight." To which Cross replied, "Yeah, and you found it."

TOOTHPICK ALERT: Malone's irritation at players coming to training camp out of shape, and the new contracts they're commanding, didn't totally eradicate his sense of humor. He took time to tease guard Howard Eisley during the first session: "All you little-armed guys don't be cutting your sleeves off" their T-shirts.

That goes for writers, too.

TOOTHPICK ALERT II: Speaking of toothpicks, if you think Shawn Bradley is going to say he should have stayed in college rather than jumping to the NBA after one year at BYU, forget it.

In Dallas Mavericks Teamworks magazine, he answered e-mail questions sent from around the world. One of the questions, from a fan in Delft, Holland, asked, "How do you picture your NBA career at this point and what do you see in the future?"

Bradley's response included this observation: "I know the last three years I could have been in college developing at that level. But I was here in the pros developing at this level. I think I've come a lot further in the last three years, and learned a lot more than if I would have stayed at BYU."

Hmmmm. We'll have to check with his coaches on that one.

GRAVE CONSEQUENCES: Arkansas-Pine Bluff plans to build a new football stadium. But there's this one concern that keeps being, well, unearthed.

The project, which is set to begin Oct. 24, could be delayed due to the fact that part of the stadium will be on what is now a cemetery. About 50 graves would have to be moved in order for the new stadium to go up.

When all is said and done, the stadium should be a nice addition to the program. However, for his own good, the coach may want to avoid calling his players "stiffs."

SAY CHEESE: Sometimes you just need to leave a job to the pros.

The Seattle Seahawks cheerleaders recently discovered a video camera placed in a dressing room light fixture by a maintenance worker. But instead of getting candid shots of the SeaGals, all he got was a tape of himself.

The worker apparently thought he was setting the VCR when he filmed himself installing the camera. When the camera was discovered, the worker confessed.

And all the while the guy was wondering where the Dallas Cowboys are when you need them.

QUOTE FILE: Bob Davie, coach of 1-4 Notre Dame on his 43rd birthday: "The good news is, I have a lot of presents over there from Notre Dame fans. The bad news is, I'm a little afraid to open those boxes right now."