So I was over at the TD Banknorth Garden yesterday watching three-man weaves for four hours (otherwise known as workouts for the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen) and I had to wonder: If there weren’t those pieces of paper with numbers, lines, and the word “bracket” at the top, would anybody care about this happening?
Villanova vs. Duke. Pittsburgh vs. Xavier. The NCAA vs. good old fashioned New England sports apathy.
Quite the matchups.
But I’m here to tell you, you should care. Maybe you’ve been slighted by the pitifully boring collection of games the last time the tournament game to Boston (all I remember was former Purdue coach Gene Keady’s wife putting on a one-woman show while berating the officials). Or perhaps you are blinded by Clay Buchholz’ mastery of spring training hitters.
Whatever the case, it should be understood that any event that can put the parquet floor and championship banners in storage might be noteworthy. So, here is my attempt at making you feel at one with what will be going on over at the Garden Thursday evening.
The following is a little introduction to those who you might want to start caring about for the next couple of days, hopefully making the games' presence a bit more interesting (all plucked from the teams’ respective media guides) ...
B.J. Raymond: He was born in Boston, but grew up in Ohio. I love those athletes you take claim of because their parents just happened to be passing through town when child birth set in. One of the my favorites is former NBAer Matt Geiger, who lived in Tewksbury about a day but is enshrined at the local Applebees as the town’s hometown hero. By the way, Raymond also likes chess, card tricks, poetry and dancing. A true renaissance man, to be sure. But most notably he calls himself funny twice in his profile. You do that and you better deliver the goods.
Derrick Brown: He likes to play chess and calls LeBron James the toughest player he’s ever gone against. I wonder if actually had to think about that second part. ‘Hmmm, there was that one-on-one game I had with Michael Jordan back in ‘92 ...’
Jamel McLean: The toughest player Jamel says he ever played against was himself. I wonder if he ever played against LeBron.
Terrell Holloway: He went to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. and likes Rice Krispies for a midnight snack. Guess what? I went to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. and like Rice Krispies for a midnight snack. I wonder if we can sneak Terrell in to play the point for our 35-and-older basketball league and say it’s me.
Stephen Duckett: He wears No. 13 because every great player has the No. 3 in their number. I’ve guess that seals it: I’ve been drastically overrating Kevin Garnett.
Joe Hughes: The most famous person he ever met was Bobby Plump, who I believe is the guy the Jimmy Chitwood character was based on in ‘Hoosiers’. If we ever have a WEEI.com media guide I’m going to take this to the next level and ask who is the most famous person’s house you ever utilized the bathroom at. My answer is pretty solid: Moby, the musician.
Coach Sean Miller: The coach was on the ‘Tonight Show’ to show off his dribbling exploits at the age of five. Weren't we all.
Coach Jamie Dixon: He played professionally in New Zealand. Didn’t we all.
Assistant coach Tom Herrion: Coached at Oxford High and Merrimack College in this fine state. Do you think they ever had to take the softball championship banners down in Volpe Arena for any event at Merrimack?
Tyrell Biggs: He pretended he was Bruce Lee when he was a kid. If you’re going to pretend to be somebody you really can’t go wrong with Bruce Lee. I like it so much I think I’m going to start pretending I’m Bruce Lee right now. Better late than never.
Levance Fields: Pretended he was Spider-Man when he was a kid. Bruce Lee is much cooler.
Sam Young: Fulfilled his promise of doing a back-flip if his high school team won their state championship. Big deal. I promised I would jump over a moving car if my Hamilton-Wenham team won the state title. Put it this way, nobody even pulled their Chevettes out of the garage for that one.
DeJuan Blair: Nickname is ‘Fella’. All I’ve got to say is it’s a good thing he is 6-foot-7, 270-pounds.
Sam Young: Brother Michael Spriggs is blind and competes in judo and wrestling; fuliflled promise to do back-flip if high school team won state championship
Director of Basketball Operations Chris Spatola: Not only is he married to Mike Krzyzewski’s daughter, Jamie, but also had the honor of pitting his talents against one of my Concord Academy hoop teams when I served as the coach for the Runnin’ Reptiles. Spatola, you see, played at Lawrence Academy, where he managed to thwart my ‘quadruple-team’ strategy we implemented against the guard that fateful day.
Jordan Davidson: Finished second in the state in the Arkansas high school golf tournament. It’s really not interesting, but Duke’s media guide is really not the interesting.
Gerald Henderson: Lists his father, Gerald Sr., as a real estate agent. Boy that Red Auerbach was a genius, getting the second pick in the draft for a real estate agent.
Kyle Singler. His father played quarterback at Oregon St., his mother played basketball at Oregon St., his uncle played basketball at Oregon, his other uncle played football at Oregon, another uncle played hoop at Texas and yet another uncle played football at Stanford. Oh, his cousin played basketball at Oregon St., as well. So what? My father used to fly blimps in the Navy, so put that in your family-tree pipe and smoke it, Kyle!
Nolan Smith: He is the son of the late Derek Smith, a one-time member of the Celtics. What I remember about Derek Smith’s time with the Celtics are knee braces and a guy who put his body on the line during whatever stretch of minutes he could get. He seemed so old -- a wily veteran -- but in reality he was just 30, dying of a heart attack five years later.
Olek Czyz: This is one of my favorites ... Olek learned to studied basketball, starting at the age of nine, at ... ready ... ‘Zespol Sportowych Szkol Ogolnoksztalcacych’. Either this is a real place or the author of the media guide fell asleep at the key board, landed his head on a bunch of keys and this is what finished up. I wonder if the Duke coach will ever form an alliance with Czyz’ former mentors to build up the “The Krzyzewski Basketball Camp at Zespol Sportowych Szkol Ogolnoksztalcacych”. It rolls off the tongue.
Coach Jay Wright: Worked as an administrative assistant for the Philadelphia Stars in the United States Football league. I actually watched one of Wright’s teams play in person, when Kelvin Bryant ran all over a Boston Breakers’ defense at Nickerson Field. Fortunately quarterback Johnny Walton led the Breakers back to a last-second victory for the greatest USFL game I ever attended. I wonder if Wright learned any lessons from that game ... probably should have asked him at the press conference.
Assistant coach Doug West: Played for the Minnesota Timberwolves. I wonder if he had a No. 3 in his number.
Frank Tchuisi: Fluent in five languages. Do you think they’re counting the international language of love? Counting that, I am fluent in 1 1/2 languages.
Reggie Redding: Chose Villanova over Boston College. The BC logo will be under his feet as he runs up and down the Garden court. Who’s laughing now?
Antonio Pena: Was a high school teammate of former Celtic Sebastian Telfair. I don’t know if I would have included that in my profile.
Taylor King: Sister played softball for University of Texas and uncle played pro basketball for the Rochester Royals. Did I mention my father flew blimps in the Navy.
Rob Bradford is the Site Editor for WEEI.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.