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The Hornet that impresses Patrick Ewing, plus racing and other chat

Aaron Harrison talks with Charlotte Hornets' head coach Steve Clifford after Wednesday’s practice at the Novant Health Training Center inside Time Warner Cable Arena.
Aaron Harrison talks with Charlotte Hornets' head coach Steve Clifford after Wednesday’s practice at the Novant Health Training Center inside Time Warner Cable Arena. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Welcome to Tom Talks, the sports talk show of the printed page. You ask and I answer, regardless of the degree of difficulty. I care, OK? Let’s go to the telephones.

Tom, Clyde from Conover.

My brother runs the computer division for his company and says that the people who work for the plant in Conover really work hard.

If he’s your brother, I don’t like him. You’ve been harsh with the Charlotte Hornets. I don’t see why they even talk to you.

Aaron Harrison, the undrafted guard out of Kentucky, talked to me Wednesday. On Thursday a reporter asked Patrick Ewing, who coaches the Hornets’ summer league team, who had impressed him. Ewing named one player – Harrison. Added Ewing: “He’s a much better player than I thought. He can play both the 1 and the 2, and he’s been doing a very good job.” Talk to me and good things happen. I remember talking to Michael Jordan when he was a freshman at North Carolina.

Tom, Carol from Creedmoor. Do you watch NASCAR on TV?

I don’t watch it the way I watch the NBA, NFL or boxing. But now that NBC will broadcast it, I will. The talent the network has assembled is impressive. Jeff Burton, the former driver, is one of those rare people who will be good at anything he does. Kyle Petty is candid, and it’s not a show. Kyle steps up and says what needs to be said. Nate Ryan, a longtime motorsports writer, will be excellent. I’m biased. He left Charlotte and, when I was between houses, let me stay in his place for a modest sum. But he was good before that. These are good guys and smart guys and none of them will say “Boogity, boogity, boogity” unless they’re being sarcastic.

Tom, Bill from Clinton.

Nice.

You think that because of the draft and the absence of a big free-agent signing fans quit caring about the Hornets?

If they don’t care, they don’t complain. I think the interest in Summer League is intense. I want to see Frank Kaminsky, P.J. Hairston, Troy Daniels, Harrison and, OK, Aaron Craft. Craft was obnoxious when he played for Ohio State, especially when they beat up on my Minnesota Gophers. He enjoyed it too much. But he can play.

Tom, Cherry from Cherryville.

That’s reasonable.

I bet you blew some stuff up on the Fourth.

I might have blown up a relationship. That’s a joke. When my kids were young I bought rockets. They’re not young anymore. I like fireworks but can’t stand firecrackers. My dog can’t, either.

Tom, Chad from Chinquapin, the town from which the inventor of Pepsi-Cola comes. Is there a Charlotte athlete we should know about but don’t?

His name is Jared Robinson and he’s a masseuse at Massage Envy. It’s all about the hands. He’s a boxer, a super lightweight (140 pounds) with a record of 15-2-1. Last Sunday he fought Haskell Rhodes on a card promoted by Floyd Mayweather. Rhodes came in 23-0. A huge favorite, he’s trained with Floyd and sparred with Manny Pacquiao. Robinson finished beautifully, connecting with a series of combinations. He’s a craftsman; I promise he can box. He was up by 2 points on one card, Rhodes was up 2 on another and a third judge scored the fight a draw. It was a heck of a draw for Robinson. He’s a good man and a good boxer. I’m happy I know him.

Tom, Burlington from Coats.

Sure.

The NFL suspended New England quarterback Tom Brady for four games. What a joke. The league obviously hates the Patriots. If you ran the NFL, how many games would you suspend him for?

Eight.

I’m serious.

So am I.

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