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Gilchrist belongs on Bills' Wall

Column as I see 'em:

* Frankly, I don't care what the rules are for the Bills' Wall of Fame. Five seasons, three seasons, three games, it shouldn't matter. Now that Cookie Gilchrist has been posthumously inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, it's time for Ralph Wilson to get it right. Put Cookie on the Wall.

Gilchrist was one of the greatest Bills ever to strap on a helmet, and Buffalo's first modern pro superstar. Larry Felser and Jack Kemp both called him the best all-around football player they ever saw. Cookie played only three seasons and 44 games as a Bill. But from here on, every year that passes without his name on the Wall diminishes the custom.

There's no reason to delay now that Gilchrist has passed away. Ralph Wilson once told me he would consider Gilchrist, but he was afraid he wouldn't show up for the ceremony. Cookie was a difficult, tortured soul who felt he was exploited and underpaid as a player. He would have demanded to be paid for the appearance, and Wilson wouldn't do that.

It's unclear whether Gilchrist had enough service to qualify. The original rules required five seasons in Buffalo. The media guide says three years. Rewrite the rules if necessary. Cookie defies conventional measurement. He belongs.

* The NBA draft is today, and the great debate isn't about who will go No. 1, but when BYU's Jimmer Fredette will go. Opinions on Fredette, who led the nation in scoring and was national Player of the Year, are all over the map. Some people say he'll be drafted in the top 10. Others question his physical skills and say he shouldn't go in the first round.

Fredette will prove his critics wrong and be a good pro. He's only 6-2 1/2 , he's not a pure point guard and his defense is suspect. But he tested higher than expected in athletic tests. He's a ballplayer, a natural scorer with great shooting range and body control. He'll reward the team that takes a chance on him.

NBA teams have a history of missing on smaller guards who aren't regarded as elite athletes. Steve Nash went 15th overall, Mark Jackson 18th, John Stockton 16th, Jameer Nelson 20th. A lot of people missed on those guys, too.

* Bad news for NHL teams looking for an elite defenseman: Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa says he wants to stay with the Canucks. Bieksa, a physical force and leader, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and could command a salary in the $6 million range.

Prevailing wisdom says the Sabres need a top center. But they need an experienced, physical defenseman more. They were brutal in their own end in the playoffs. If Bieksa decides to test the waters, the Sabres should seriously consider it.

Darcy Regier could make a bold move and offer Nashville a juicy trade package for restricted free agent Shea Weber. I won't be holding my breath.

* Rory McIlroy isn't the only young golfer making waves. Australia's Jason Day has finished in the top 10 in the last three majors. Day tied for second in the Masters and was second alone to McIlroy in the U.S. Open. He tied for 10th at last year's PGA Championship. Day's 12-under score at the Masters was the lowest ever for a first-year performer.

Day is 23. How about a McIlroy-Day duel on the final day of the British Open?

I* 'm guessing that opening the gates an hour later won't put much of a dent in the alcohol consumption of Bills fans.

* Five straight golf majors have been won by non-Americans. Big deal. No U.S. man has won a tennis Grand Slam since Andy Roddick at the U.S. Open in 2003.

* Saw the phrase "high motor" three times in recent days to describe an athlete. All three were white.

* The Yankees went 7-1 in their first eight games after Derek Jeter went on the disabled list. Just sayin'.

e-mail: jsullivan@buffnews.com