Happy New Year, and new era when you don't hear word one from Kentucky, this far along in a basketball season, about redshirting a Sam Bowie, 15 weeks on crutches. Instead, you hear Coach Joe B. Hall saying the 7-foot-1 junior who as a sophomore led UK in scoring and rebounding--then sustained a stress fracture in his left leg--finally is off those crutches and into conditioning in hopes of varsity duty late this season. . . .

Add linebacker Tom Cousineau (to Bruce Clark) as a top NFL draft choice ready, for a price, to leave Canada for the big top. Cousineau, the first pick in 1979 who shunned Buffalo for Montreal, can stay an Alouette or move on; says he's had beaucoup feelers. Most ardent pursuer: the Browns, and he'd "love" to play in hometown Cleveland if they satisfy him (and Bills) . . . Iowa's Rose Bowlers boost 1982 encore prospects, bringing in Donald Wilson, Cardozo (D.C.) High alum who led 1981 junior college pass interceptors with 13 for Ellsworth C.C. of Iowa Falls and made NJCAA all-America . . .

Hockey trade: Quebec's Robbie Ftorek to N.Y. Rangers for more muscular Dean Talafous and Jere Gillis. Watch-charm center/Nordique captain Ftorek leaves near tears, saying "due to financial problems staying was just not feasible". . . .

Official draw for the women's tennis Avon Championships of Washington that open Monday at GW will be made at 11 a.m. today at Georgetown Park shopping center, main concourse level, open to public . . . Meantime, U.S. Tennis Association certifies Chris Evert Lloyd's comeback to No. 1 for '81, her sixth time at top rank. The usurpers of her 1974-78 reign, Martina Navratilova ('79) and Tracy Austin ('80) now are 2-3, says USTA's computer . . .

A. Track star Steve Scott recently played the fastest known 18-hole round of golf (6,000-yard course) on foot: 29 minutes 33.05 seconds, in Anaheim. Carded 92 . . . Q. Lenn Sakata twice had two-homer games last season. Only other Oriole shortstop to hit two in one game was ???