By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Nov 15, 2002 at 5:07 AM

Toni Kukoc was featured in the Milwaukee Sports Buzz last week, but the Bucks' bench is running 3-deep, with Michael Redd and Kevin Ollie also contributing big time.

Redd is showing he is worth every penny that the Senator, Bucks' owner Herb Kohl, shelled out to keep him in Milwaukee. He's averaging 16 points a game off the bench.

Ollie, a journeyman veteran, is backing up Sam Cassell and at times plays more like a true point guard than the starter does.

The two have teamed with Kukoc to give the Bucks three solid performers off the bench. Add Ervin Johnson's one-dimensional contributions on defense, and coach George Karl can go nine deep.

"I don't even want to put labels on them of starters and the bench," Karl said. "We're in a transformation toward a more defensive and passing game. Whoever gives me what I want will get the playing time."

Redd scored a game-high 24 points in a win Wednesday over the Bulls. He scored 18 in the second quarter when he got into a 3-point zone with five from that distance.

"It's a great feeling when you get into one of those," Redd said. "I'm just trying to contribute off the bench. I think all of us could start for a lot of teams in the NBA, but we don't mind our roles."

Ollie had 14 points against the Bulls, but his major attributes don't even need to include scoring. He runs the offense, plays unselfishly on both ends of the court and can find the open man.

Kukoc had his worst shooting game of the season (2 of 11) against his former team Wednesday, but had nine assists in the first half and ended up with 12.

Rookies Marcus Haislip and Ronald Murray also could contribute when their time comes. Right now, Karl is letting them season in practice. The 12th man, veteran Jason Caffey, also has contributed in some games, but has been spotty because of back problems.

The Bucks need a strong bench because their starters can get a little goofy. Both Cassell and Ray Allen take questionable shots at times and don't always play defense. Tim Thomas can play out of control, and Anthony Mason passes up too many good shots.

If any of these guys get into their funks, Karl can come in with Redd, Ollie and Kukoc and hardly miss a beat.

Wave looks for new streak

The Kansas City Comets broke the Wave's 27-game regular season home winning streak last Friday with a 9-7 decision at the Bradley Center. The Wave will look to rebound this weekend with two games, including a Saturday contest at the BC.

Running on empty

High winds, rain, crashing waves haven't stopped Elm Grove's Tim Kent in the Around Alone sailing competition, but it sounds like a lack of money might dry dock him. Here's an excerpt from his latest e-mail:

"We have done a lot, but I must be blunt -- Everest Horizontal is broke. I personally have absolutely no money in the bank. Everest Horizontal has absolutely no money in the bank. There is no money for satellite e-mail time, none to replace worn sheets and halyards, none for food to eat in Cape Town, none to provision the boat, none for needed repairs to the deck — no money. None. No money at all. Every single dime I have - every savings and retirement account - I have spent on this project. If we cannot raise at least $25,000 in the next three weeks, I'm on the beach, watching the start of Leg 3 with the crowd."

It's been great getting Tim's e-mails and documenting his courageous adventure, but we all knew from the start he was without a corporate sponsor like many others in the around the world competition. If you're some CEO out there and would like to help him continue, e-mail me at and I will link you with his e-mail. Otherwise, this unfortunately might be one of our last updates.

Mark down the dates

Some world class gymnasts stopped in Milwaukee this week to promote the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, which are scheduled for the U.S. Cellular Arena June 19-22 of next year.

Among the gymnasts in the championship competition will be Paul and Morgan Hamm of Waukesha. This writer covered them in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and knows just how popular they are in the gymnastics world. The focus of that world will be on Milwaukee next June.


Congrats Z

The Brewers held a surprise party to commemorate the 25th season for Mario Ziino, the team's publications director. I worked with Z on "Down in the Valley: The History of Milwaukee County Stadium" and write for "Leadoff," which he edits.

Although this would be better said in The Brew Crew Review, I'd like to publicly say Mario is one of the best pros I've worked with in 30 years of publishing. It makes up for his lack of pitching ability in softball.

Z's co-workers also presented him with a bobblehead that shared a remarkable likeness to the original, "up" to his shiny dome. Congrats, Z, on a quarter century!!!

Hot Tix

The Bucks play two games this weekend, traveling to Indiana on Friday night and hosting the high-scoring Boston Celtics at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Bradley Center.

In hockey, the Admirals host the Chicago Wolves at 7:12 p.m. Friday and then go to Grand Rapids Saturday night.

The Wave travels to Baltimore on Friday night and entertains the San Diego Sockers Saturday afternoon at the BC.

Both the Badgers and Packers are on the road for football games. UW travels to Michigan for a very tough matchup. The Packers play the Vikings in the Metrodome. Read about it Monday in On The Pack on OMC.

Gregg Hoffmann writes The Milwaukee Sports Buzz on Fridays and On The Pack on days after Packers' games.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.