*Paul Barbee Jr. was a 205-pound center for the Northwest Classen football team, back in the day when the Knights were coached by Dean Choate. Barbee would play briefly for the University of Houston, before going on to make a name for himself as a championship weightlifter. Barbee was a national collegiate champ in 1972, a Texas state champion and three-time Gulf States titlist. He served as coach for the U.S. team that competed at the Goodwill Games in Russia. Barbee also trained fellow lifters; pro boxers; high school and college football players; track and field athletes — and even beauty pageant contestants. A man who was once ranked No. 4 in the world, squatted 804 pounds and benched 615 was a Corpus Christi, Texas, resident when he died at age 62 from heart disease.
*Barney Limes was an honorable mention All-State center for the Maud football team in 1947. He earned a football scholarship to Oklahoma City University. OCU dropped football two years later, and Limes transferred to Oklahoma. Although Limes did not play football for the Sooners, he did begin an education that eventually led to a successful career as urologist in the Oklahoma City area. The Navy veteran was a resident of Sun City, Texas, when he died at age 82.
*Jim Stroup was a football and basketball standout at Woodward High School in the early 1940s. He was a teenage sailor during World War II, and after the Allied victory, Stroup joined the Oklahoma State basketball program as a walk-on. Stroup was a 6-foot, 170-pound guard who helped the Henry Iba-coached Aggies to the national championship for the 1945-46 season.
Stroup went into coaching as a career; he spent 11 years at Enid High School, including six as head basketball coach. Stroup guided the Plainsmen to two state championships and one runner-up finish. He later served as physical director at the YMCA in Muskogee. Stroup returned to coaching one last time, at Phillips University in Enid.
Downtown Oklahoma City has become a hub for some of sports' future stars in big-time basketball, hockey and baseball.
*3 — Sure bets to make the Edmonton Oilers' roster once the NHL lockout ends. No. 1 draft picks Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will begin the season Friday with the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League. Taylor Hall, another No. 1 draft choice, is scheduled to join the Barons once he returns from a shoulder injury. That trio will hop the next plane to Edmonton when owners and the union come to an agreement. Magnus Paajarvi and Alex Plante are other previous No. 1 selections by Edmonton who might get the call, too.
*4 — Olympians on the Oklahoma City Thunder roster this season. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden played for the U.S., which won gold during the London Olympics this summer. Serge Ibaka played for Spain, which took silver after losing to the Americans in the championship game.
*14 — The Houston Astros finished the worst season in the franchise's 50-year history Wednesday with a 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Of the 17 players who appeared in the box score for Houston, 14 spent part of the 2012 season with the Oklahoma City RedHawks. That number does not include Tony DeFrancesco, who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City late in the season to serve as the Astros' interim manager.