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Oh, Reege

Toronto Raptors general manager Isiah Thomas went one-on-one with TV talk show host Regis Philbin last week and, predictably, the former Pistons star won.

It seems Thomas was beaten last week by one of his own players, Damon Stoudamire, and Philbin did not let that go unnoticed.

“Can we see if Isiah still has it?” Philbin asked during the taping of the “Live With Regis and Kathie Lee at Disney World” show.

It wasn’t much of a contest, though Philbin finished strong - sinking a hook shot.

Hard to believe they worked in a sports segment without Kathie Lee demanding to sing the anthem.

Everything’s Jake, after all

This week just has to go better for Arizona State quarterback Jake Plummer.

On the eve of ASU’s win over Oregon a week ago Saturday, Plummer’s car was stolen. It was eventually recovered last week, but he got it back only after paying a $150 reclamation fee and being late for shooting an NCAA “stay in school” promotional announcement.

Then a different promo - one he recorded for KTIK-AM in his hometown of Boise three years ago - raised a question of his eligibility until the NCAA cleared him of any wrongdoing.

It seemed harmless enough - Plummer saying, “This is Jack Plummer of the Arizona State Sun Devils. For daily sports updates listen to sports radio 1340, KTIK.” But it potentially violated the NCAA’s “extra benefits rule,” even though Plummer received no compensation.

KTIK was still airing the promo last week in advance of the Boise State-ASU game, and sports director Jeff Caves called it “an entirely innocent thing. I was taping a TV interview with Jake. At the end of the interview, I told them to keep the tape rolling and asked him for a favor. I asked him if he would do a 10-second bite for me. I had no clue.”

Making him a radio guy by definition.

Knowing your place

A simple question drew an elaborate response from Angels reserve third baseman Jack Howell, who was asked if he thought he’d return to the club next season.

“I’m sure that’s the last thing on their minds,” Howell said. “I think we need a manager, some pitching, a little defensive help, then they’ll start worrying about a left-handed bat off the bench. I figure I’ll get a call around Feb. 18, and they’ll say, ‘Hey, can you still hit a little?”’ Still wild about Harry He’ll only broadcast home games next year, but we’ll still be able to look forward to gems like these from Cubs announcer Harry Carey: “The average attendance at Cub games this year is 48 degrees.”

Guess he’s finally found what he’s looking for

An Irish consortium led by Paul McGuinness, the manager of the rock group U2, is poised to take over the Wimbledon soccer team - and possibly move the English Premier League club to Dublin.

The deal is reportedly worth about $31 million. About half the sum would be made available to manager Joe Kinnear to buy new players.

The last word …

“Bob Dole is pushing ahead on the campaign trail. He says he’s fine after his fall the other day. Not only that, he’s had an offer to fight Mike Tyson.”

- Conan O’Brien

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo