O’Donnell: Will Mulkey profile touch on Morrow transfer from DePaul?

KIM MULKEY IS THE SELF-STYLED “Swamp Queen” and head coach of defending national women's basketball champion Louisiana State.

She is to glam-bingo sideline apparel what Tony Joe White and “Polk Salad Annie” were to Cajun rock. (“Gators got your granny … chomp, chomp, chomp.”)

Mulkey went on a bizarre news conference rant last weekend over a “hit piece” that will or will not drop any hour now in The Washington Post. The profile is said to be an exhaustive one, researched and written by Kent Babb. He's a sports journalist who commands national respect.

There is a Chicago-tinged tangent regarding Mulkey that would be read with great interest. That involves the transfer of young flyer Aneesah Morrow last summer from DePaul to Baton Rouge.

MORROW WAS TO BE the Blue Demon who served as the wings beneath Doug Bruno's renaissance. In 66 games with DePaul, the Chicago Simeon grad posted 53 double-doubles. Now in her junior season, she serves as Scottie Pippen to the … well, same targeted alpha Air way … of Angel Reese.

When Morrow announced her south-bound switch, knowledgeable local basketball insiders said she had “a NIL pot of gold” ranging from $200K to $500K waiting for her at LSU.

In the current Wild West of major college basketball, all could be perfectly legal. Whether or not Babb tracks Morrow's path of inducements from Wintrust Arena to the basketball swamp will be engaging.

Maybe she just likes the coach's Cajun blend bling-o.

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

BOTH THE CUBS AND THE WHITE SOX open their regular seasons on Thursday.

Anything that gets Our Town away from the incessant chatter and babbling stalemates over new stadiums and Caleb Williams is most welcome. Peeps mushroom-fueled sightings of the Easter Bunny to divert from those dueling media rabbit holes would be most welcome.

The Cubs are at Texas (6:35 p.m.). They're expected to contend for the NL Central crown. They've been expected to contend for the NL Central crown just about every season since Theo Epstein first ordered at a North Side Starbucks — and that was more than 12 years ago.

Whether the Cubs get $40M worth of managing out of Craig Counsell remains to be seen. (That kind of money buys a lot of lineup cards.) Just by turning on the ticket scanners, the Wigglies will draw more than 2.6M.

THE FAIL HOSE HOST Detroit (3:10 p.m.). Radio-TV ironists are already pointing out that the series will merit mention of Jason Benetti, only now as a Tigers play-by-play man.

Last autumn, with a dramatic arc worthy of “Dead to Me,” Benetti thumbed his microphone at Jerry Reinsdorf, Brooks Boyer and all and bolted for Detroit.

In the old days, professionals left Chicago for Detroit only if they were senior executives in the automotive industry, kidnapped or if they were engaged in an archaeological rock dig for Iggy Pop and the Stooges.

Benetti is clearly of a different kind of independence.

EXPERTS ARE SAYING that Reinsdorf's latest diamond miser piece is one of the three worst teams in MLB (along with Oakland and Colorado).

With any kind of luck, his baseball franchise will be in Nashville by 2026 and the South Side will get a clean expansion team.

The Bridgeport ghosts of Mayor Richard J. Daley, Mike Bilandic and Andy the Clown would undoubtedly applaud.

Play ball!

Sort of.


The sports fan base of the University of Illinois deserves good things. Will that orange karma be enough to lift Brad Underwood, Terrence Shannon Jr., et al, in the Sweet Sixteen? Iowa State (-2 ½) is the foe Thursday (app. 9:09 p.m., TBS & truTV). The Cyclones — perceived as road adverse — have won 5 straight at neutral sites. But their offense packs all the punch of a cleanup in Aisle 15 at a Hy-Vee. …

Caitlin Clark and Iowa saved mainstream interest in the women's tournament with a dramatic closing kick over visiting West Virginia Monday night. The officiating didn't hurt. The Hawkeyes are minus-8 ½ over Colorado Saturday (2:30 p.m., ABC). But that could be mere prelude to a major Monday nighter against LSU or UCLA in Albany, N.Y. …

Pat Kenny of The Big Ten Network informs that the BTN finished second among all Nielsen-rated cable webs in terms of average audience size for men's basketball games this season. That's behind ESPN but ahead of ESPN2. …

Mike Conklin masterfully captures the suspicious gambling tones of the times with his new novel “He Bet the Farm” ($15.99; Kindle, $9.99). It's the third work in his Town and Gown series and is available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. Conklin remains one of the all-time greats among dot-dot-dot columnists in the history of Chicago newspapering. (And still a personal friend of Arno Steffenhagen.) …

And Burl Selig, following a brutal 1/2-point OT wagering loss on victorious North Carolina State (-6 ½) over Oakland (79-73) in the NCAA men's tourney Saturday: “I've gotta think Ohtani's interpreter was all over N.C. State.”

Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears each week on Sunday and Wednesday. Reach him at All communications may be considered for publication.

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