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VAN HORN BACKS DECISION WITH A LITTLE INSURANCE

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WHEN UNIVERSITY of Utah forward Keith Van Horn decided to stay in college for his senior season, sports radio personalities, fans and even friends insisted he made a bad decision. The standard argument in favor of turning pro early is "what-if-he-gets-hurt?" while still in school.

In Van Horn's case, the answer is "big deal."When Van Horn decided to stay in college, he took out an insurance policy for $3.2 million against an injury to his valuable body. That may be less than a year's salary if he is drafted No. 2, as some experts predict, but it isn't exactly pocket change.

"The only thing I was worried about was an injury, and I got an insurance policy so if anything should happen, I wouldn't have to worry about it," he said. "So I really don't have any worries."

Athletes insuring themselves against calamity opens up some interesting possibilities. For example, can you insure yourself against getting kicked by Dennis Rodman? Kissed by Doug Collins? Spit on by Roberto Alomar?

Whatever the case, Van Horn has proven that there are ways to protect the future, even if you getinjured while staying in school. As the old adage goes, you can never be too rich or too thin . . . and you can never have too much insurance.

TWO FOR THE SHOW: The list of possible basketball coaches at BYU continues to grow. Two of the more recent names include former Ball State head coach Dick Hunsaker and ex-Jazz forward Thurl Bailey.

Of all the names that have surfaced so far, Hunsaker probably has the most impressive resume. He played basketball at Weber State, then was a Weber assistant for 10 years. He was an assistant to Rick Majerus at Ball State for two years before taking over as head coach and leading his team to the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT twice.

The hitch is that Hunsaker resigned in 1993 after violating an NCAA rule. Though that violation isn't against the rules anymore, it is still a mark that may make BYU squeamish - as it did in the case of Jim Harrick. Hunsaker, a member of the LDS Church, is currently head coach at Manchester College in Indiana.

Meanwhile, Bailey has no NCAA violations on record, but neither does he have any coaching experience. He does have plenty of name-recognition and basketball experience. An NBA veteran and permanent Utah resident, Bailey is a recent convert to the LDS Church - which may or may not be one of the requirements for the job.

Whomever the Jazz hire, the school would do well to keep in touch with former Cougar Danny Ainge, even if he is currently the coach of the Phoenix Suns. Though Ainge isn't going to take a gigantic pay cut to coach at BYU now, the shelf-life of NBA coaches isn't long. BYU could always sign Roger Reid's replacement to one-year contracts, then wait to see if Ainge is fired in Phoenix. Should the BYU coach be winning big by that time, the problem is solved. But if the program is still floudering, Ainge could then take over as coach at BYU.

DRESS FOR SUCCESS: A recent item in "Sting," the magazine of the Charlotte Hornets, revealed the sales patterns of a sporting goods store and, to no one's surprise, Michael Jordan apparel is the top seller. Jordan's red Bulls' jersey was the No. 1 seller, followed by Jordan's black Bulls jersey.

The No. 3-selling item was Rodman's red Bulls jersey, followed by Rodman's black Bulls jersey. The first non-Bull jersey to make the list was Anfernee Hardaway's at No. 5. After that came the jerseys of Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Emmitt Smith, Shaquille O'Neal and Scottie Pippen.

All of which makes sense. But what we really want to know is how their line of Dennis Rodman evening wear is selling.

JUDGE NOT: Although the return of Derek Harper to the Delta Center two nights ago was could have brought on a nasty bit of name-calling, it never got close to that. No signs appeared decrying Harper's decision not to play in Utah. Even "Bear," the team mascot, steered away from confronting Harper.

Harper actually professed to have enjoyed the evening. Inactive due to a groin pull, he sat in street clothes on the sidelines. "People were great," said Harper. "I had fun talking to the fans. Again, my comments were not directed at the people in Salt Lake. They were just taken that way, unfortunately."

Through the whole experience, Harper learned something. "It just goes to show you don't judge things the way I judged the situation," he said, "and people shouldn't judge me the way they judged me."

Or as a wise man once said, "Can't we all just get along?"

QUOTEFILE: Jazz President Frank Layden on his team allowing Golden State to score 40 points in the fourth quarter: "Well, they had a plane to catch."