2010 was a decade of change in college basketball.
There was the growing influence of the age limit rule as Kentucky and then Duke built teams around large NBA draft elite collections prospects.
There has been tremendous upheaval in conference attendance, with the Big East nearly split in two and the ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 facing significant changes.
There was a Justice Department investigation that led to the formation of the NCAA Rice Commission and so many ongoing NCAA investigations.
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There were also so many great moments to experience that I really couldn’t put everything in this column. I came up with a dozen, easily, and this is my list of my most memorable moments of the decade.
Probably the wildest moment of the decade was when UMBC beat Virginia’s first seed in the first of its kind in NCAA tournament history. Because the game was in Charlotte, where Sporting News is based, Ryan Fagan was there. He wrote brilliantly about what happened and tried to put the event in perspective from my seat at a table in a Pittsburgh sports bar.
I was in the arena for almost all of my highlights – but one, it may surprise you, happened at a drugstore parking lot. With that, my highlights of the decade:
12. Gonzaga reaches the top
By the time Mark Few arrived in his 14th season at Gonzaga, he had completed his college basketball career that seemed unthinkable when he took over Dan Monson’s departure for coaching in Minnesota.
Few had led Gonzaga to the NCAA Tournament in any season he coached. He had won 11 consecutive regular season titles at a West Coast conference. He had convinced such programs as Stanford, Memphis, Illinois and Michigan State to visit Spokane for home games. He had gotten Gonzaga in four Sweet 16 appearances and coached one player, Adam Morrison, who had won a national player of the year recognition.
On Sunday, March 3, 2013, however, she spoke fully about the fact that Gonzaga was going to be ranked for the first time in its history. We ran to see if he had a few moments to discuss this remarkable achievement and, since he was one of the most generous and generous competitors I have covered in nearly four decades in business, he eagerly agreed.
It’s no secret that I’m not much for regular polls, but it was still amazing for Gonzaga to climb so high. The Zags have since won the No. 1 seed and reached the 2017 NCAA Championship Game. These were bigger deals. But their rise to the top of the AP Top 25 poll and Few’s willingness to talk that night said so much about what makes the program special.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRRLI5yd1J4 (/ embed)
11. From Germany, with love
As the 2018 Big Ten Tournament progressed and as the Michigan Wolverines progressed, I paid some attention to Mo Wagner’s star center because I was assigned to write a track for him for Sporting News and our partner site in Germany, Spox.
When Wagner dominated a capable Purdue defense in the championship game, Beate Wagner celebrated every basket with extraordinary expressiveness. Due to the ugly problem and because he needed no more, he played only 17 minutes in the final, but scored 17.
When called the Big Ten MVP Championship, his mother wept with joy. I stayed close and managed to take a photo of the reaction.
Living and working in Berlin, she had only occasional opportunities to see her son play in person. She put a demo on it for me.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv_BW0mFfbw (/ embed)
10. Rivers conquer the DeanDome
Austin Rivers was only in Duke for a season and didn’t finish as planned, with Lehigh and CJ McCollum chasing the Devils in a major upset.
A river trip to North Carolina in 2012, however, couldn’t have been better.
The Blue Devils put their archers down by two points when they started their offense with about six seconds left. A ball set by Mason Plumlee led Tyler Zeller to switch to Rivers, who hit the target from behind the 3-point line with 3 seconds left. Zeller gave him a 4-foot cushion, worried about a possible move to the goal. It was too much room. The rivers rose, shot, pinned. The Duke won.
Okay, so there was some noise in the building, but it all came from Duke back, and those behind it, including NBA coach Doc Rivers – Austin’s dad.
I was in the “corner” type seats opposite where the rivers cut the plan. I was lucky enough to attend many games in the biggest rivalry of American sports, but this was the most dramatic.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyVKM08KgIU (/ embed)
9. Too far
The UNI Panthers held a 12-point lead over Texas A&M with 34 seconds remaining in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City. Then you start booking tickets for the area, right? Go for the Sweet 16, obviously.
Except for the A&M that got on this plane.
It remains difficult to understand how UNI could deliver a big lead in such a small timeframe, but it happened. The Aggies score six baskets, one from the 3-pointer, and a free-kick – as opposed to a single Panthers pitch – to tie the game at the end of regulation.
Twice – not once, but twice – a Panthers player coming into the field saw no options and tried to throw it away from the defender’s foot to win a new five-second count and roll, seeing the ball he had collected. an Aggies player on target.
The Aggies won in double overtime. UNI, as one would expect with a coach as aristocratic as Ben Jacobson, handled their defeat as much as possible. Their locker room was quiet, but those in the center of the collapse dealt with the questions they faced.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNGmD6FcQdY (/ embed)
8. Kansas silenced Mizzou for the last time
With Missouri leaving the Big 12 Conference to compete in the SEC for the 2012-13 season, the Tigers are scheduled for a final visit to Lawrence, Kan., With the two teams competing for the league championship on February 25, 2012.
Allen Fieldhouse was so loud that they were preparing to start playing what was ridiculous. In fact, I laughed at the irrationality of the noise. And here’s what was amazing: I couldn’t hear my own laughter. I had never experienced this.
Mizzou conquered the Jayhawks for the first 30 minutes of the game. The Tigers led, 67-53, with 10:13 left. Conner Teahan then nailed a 3-pointer for the Jayhawks. Four minutes later, it was a one-off game. With 16 seconds left, Thomas Robinson converted a 3-point play to tie. Robinson then dismissed Phil Pressey’s attempt to overtime, which led to KU’s victory, which led to greater delirium.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Oy9AhwYdY (/ embed)
7. Front-line seats in dance
In 2014, I opened the NCAA Tournament in the Raleigh area, where all American Jabari Parker and 3rd Duke seed and No. 1 seed Virginia were featured. At least, that was how it looked.
In the first game of the day, the 14th Mercer seed played the third Blue Devils seed, and the press seat was in the lantern phase opposite the bear bench. So I had a close-up of their center, Daniel Coursey, converting a 3-point play with 1:08 left to put Duke back, 68-63. The devils were not recovered from it and were extinguished with losses.
Immediately after the game, senior guard Kevin Canevari, who had played six minutes that day and averaged 1.5 points per season, made himself a lasting part of NCAA tournament history, joining his teammates right in front. thank you for the support trip section and then, with a little warning, break into a full version of the “Nae Nae” dance.
It’s the era of social media, so I pulled out my iPhone and sent a clip to Sporting News. But I’m sure it’s a CBS / Turner camera that aired the movie every March.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B0m3ZQOz1I (/ embed)
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6. They call it ‘Huggs’
With 8:59 left in the 2010 Final Four game between West Virginia and Duke, Mountaineers star Da’Sean Butler tried to drive the baseline and get to the floor with pain. He knew it was bad. He knew it hurt like hell. He was also aware that any opportunity to lead the Climbers to a comeback win against the Blue Devils was over and that his plans for a professional basketball career could be delayed.
There was a lot to edit in front of 70,000 spectators, and coach Bob Huggins could see Butler’s discomfort when he came out. Hugins immediately listens to Butler’s head with a hug. Butler later said he apologized to Huggins for playing poorly and that he did not help get Huggins first championship and that Huggins responded by saying he loved Da’Sean and called him “a special kid”.
Many have written or stated that they are currently explaining Huggins refinement, but I knew him for two decades until then and covered the Cincinnati Bearcats teams as a Cincinnati Enquirer writer from 1997-2000. I never doubted that he was a good person, who always cares about his players.
If no one had ever wronged him, he would not need to be humanized.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxMlGJlyfA8 (/ embed)
5. Watford lights up Bloomington
On December 10, 2011, I had two great choices for what to cover: the Crosstown Shootout between Xavier and Cincinnati, 20 minutes from home, or Kentucky in Indiana, a two-hour drive. I’ve always loved Shootout and convenience was probably a factor. I chose to stay close to home.
I was there for the longest story, but not the one that was the most fun.
Cincinnati-Xavier ended with what I called “Crosstown Punchout”. It was a bad scene and one of the most frustrating events I’ve ever covered. When I finished writing, I got in the car and started driving home, playing Indiana-Kentucky on the radio. When it was near the end, I went out to the Walgreens parking lot and started watching on my iPhone.
It was there that I saw Christian Watford’s 3-pointer over Darius Miller’s challenge that resulted in Indiana’s 73-72 victory. It was one of two games the Wildcats lost all year. I wish I was there, for many reasons, but I was happy to see it – even on a tiny device.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xbbrLBX0rk (/ embed)
4. “All I Do is Win”
On the last day of the senior season he has enjoyed every college basketball conference, Pitt has agreed with Villanova at the Petersen Events Center on the occasion of winning the 2010-11 Big East Championship.
I had grown up in Pittsburgh. Although there were many great players in the area during this time – Sam Clancy, Dennis Wuycik, George Karl, Billy Knight – the city was never what invested in the sport. Many peers who grew up in the area at the same time became excellent sports journalists. for almost all of them, hockey was their true love.
So it was really amazing to see what Ben Howland started for Pitt and Jamie Dixon between 2001 and 2011, with the Oakland Zoo cheerleading department offering a home advantage that helped the Panthers become a force in the Big East.
The win over Villanova was nothing special. The Panthers won, 60-50, but that put them at 15-3, a game ahead of running back Notre Dame. Without the composition of the future NBA homeless, Pitt won the league that sent a record-11 teams to the NCAA Tournament.
Pete was full of game play and when the song was over, “All I Do is Victory” by DJ Khaled played a full blast on the sound system. Zoo members did as the song told them and players like Gary McGhee joined in: “Everyone’s hands go up / And stay there / Up down, up down, up down / All I do is win, win, win.”
It was one of the most exciting connections I’ve ever seen between a group and the student body of the school.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPCVQOTM3WA (/ embed)
3. Embracing the Kentucky team
The theme of the final four of 2012, at least for the ones who covered it, was that Kentucky had nothing to do with its huge one-player squad (three in an eight-man rotation), that these freshmen were playing in college. just because they were “forced” to do so and their connection to the UK campus was minimal, at best.
It was the most annoying scene of news bulletins since 1992, when the Cincinnati Bearcats were out of the media because many of them were products of junior colleges.
When it was over and the Wildcats had beaten Kansas for the title, they did not break and celebrate as individuals who had won championship rings en route to the NBA base draft. (I have once seen a veteran player come down to the pitch and revive the moment as if he himself did. Maybe you can even guess who he was).
Instead, the Wildcats gathered in a corner opposite the benches because it was where most of the judges ended up as buzzers listening and bouncing together to express a collective sense of joy.
It was a team like any other. Only closer than most.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=300zQnL2aq4 (/ embed)
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2. “Jenkins … for the championship!”
The press seat was there. Villanova’s 3-pointer by Kris Jenkins to beat North Carolina in the 2016 NCAA Championship game was perhaps the most dramatic decisive bucket in NCAA tournament history and unfolded in front of me.
Remember that Lorenzo Charles’ bucket for the state of NC, to beat Houston in 1983, was a passion of a terrific loser. Keith Smart’s shot for Indiana to beat Syracuse in 1987 happened with 4 seconds left. Mario Chalmers’ 3-pointer for Kansas was forced to surpass Memphis in 2008. Christian Laettner’s huge game to win Kentucky in 1992 led to a Duke title, but only after winning two more games.
This was the game of the championship and it was tied on an incredible 3-pointer by star Marcus Paige with 4.7 seconds remaining. Overtime delivered the message and the way the two of them had performed there was no reason to regret it. However, Ryan Arcidiacono drove the ball into the court and Carolina’s defense collapsed to protect from a layup and Jenkins fell behind. Arcidiacono slipped the ball back and Jenkins fired.
Pat Forde, now with Sports Illustrated, was sitting nearby. I looked at him. He looked at me. We both had that “can we believe it?” look at our faces. A wonderful moment.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7FFJUz0tdo (/ embed)
When Butler reached the 2010 NCAA Final Four, the Bulldogs had a team with two future NBA players – but also some future businessmen. The program was then a middle-class elite, not the Great Eastern candidate it is today.
I honestly didn’t expect the whole city of Indianapolis to adopt bulldogs. There are so many Indiana and Butler fans in town and a fair share of Golden Domers. Butler has a passion for the following, but is a medium-sized private school and therefore not an Indianapolis franchisee.
This weekend, it was. Almost the entire crowd of 70,000 participated. And when the star forward Gordon Hayward was able to launch a half-time shot that would make the Bulldogs the first true mid-major to ever win, there was plenty of hope left in the air for what seemed to be a long flight.
Imagine what a story it would be if the ball found the target. Imagine the delusion that Lucas Oil Stadium would have caught. Villanova’s upheaval in 1985 by Georgetown would be nothing compared to that.
And then the shot went down, hit the bench and deflected towards the goal. But it came too hard and bordered on the front lip.
“We’ve arrived!” CBS’s Jim Nantz shouted.
Είπε ο Mike Krzyzewski του Δούκα: «Εάν εισέλθει, θα κατέβει ως η μεγαλύτερη βολή στην ιστορία του μπάσκετ».
Ίσως μπορούμε να πούμε ότι ήταν η μεγαλύτερη χάρη, τότε.
(ενσωμάτωση) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB00wfyuQjY (/ ενσωμάτωση)